One million dollar bond set this week for man who conned $20 from store in 1990

In 1990 Gary Weaver of Ohio was alleged to have bought $21.64 cents worth of merchandise from a store, using a roll of dimes to pay for part of the bill. After he left, a store employee discovered that the roll was filled with pennies, and that roll was capped with a dime on each end.

The long arm of the law caught up with Mr. Weaver on Wednesday and Municipal Court Judge Richard Bernat set a $1 million bond on the case.

That means Weaver is in the jail – that officials say is overcrowded and in need of replacement – on a bond that is $999,978.36 higher than the amount he is accused of stealing 18 years ago.
Link (Thanks, Beryllium on #boingboing IRC!)


  1. I know it’s Ohio, and I’m usually prepared to believe the worst about those neighbors to the south, but a million bucks! No, no, nobody’s that stupid.

  2. This isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds, you see, you haven’t corrected for inflation. 999,978 2008 dollars is only about $15 in 1990 dollars.

  3. OK… first of all, charge that man 29% interest on the amount he stole and that’s still less than $3,000. $1mil is a wee bit excessive.

    But, what about statutes of limitation? Unless I’m missing something, we’re looking at no more than 6 years here… so the law is 12 years late.

  4. Well, all I can say is I hope they make sure he doesn’t hand them 9,998 $1 bills capped by two $100 bills!

  5. -Dandavis,

    IANAL, but I think that the statute of limitations applies to when charges can be brought, not when they have to be prosecuted.

    In other words, since he was charged within the six year statute of limitations, then the charge can apply indefinitely until he is brought to trial.

  6. Wow. Couldn’t he have just given them 20 bucks and offered to sweep the parking lot. Really? I mean… do we need to drag the courts into this.

  7. From the article: “Sundermann(prosecutor) explained that the law in 1990 was that theft charges were felonies if the defendant already had a prior theft conviction. Apparently, Weaver had such a conviction. Bernat(the judge) then imposed the original bond on the case.”

  8. of course, it’s the guy’s fault, for not being rich in the first place! (just a joke)


    is this maybe the justice of the poor against the justice of the rich? maybe the guys at the enron case should be sentence to pay a couple of countries of fee? or is it they just got away with it just by paying some expensive lawyers?

    is this the proof that capitalism is reproducing feudal social structures? new age chaos?

    did you know that all media have confused for years the term anarchy (denial of power) with the term chaos (lack of order or structure)?

    sorry to sound paranoid, mates. it may be kind of late…

    good night all from spain!

  9. #8: I’ve just started reading “Wasting Police Time”, an account of policing in the UK by a police constable. He frequently expresses rather a similar opinion – quite a lot of his (and other members of the criminal justice system’s) time seems to be taken up by trivial cases like this, while far more serious crimes slip through.

    I can’t imagine it’s especially different in the US.

    I just don’t think law enforcement scales the way crime does with population and affluence.

  10. Yeah, my question exactly. What happened to Statute of Limitations? Oh, you know what, he was probably appointed a public defender who has eleven hundred other cases to handle this month alone. He could give a shit weather his client’s bail is one hundred dollars, or one million. He still gets paid, regardless of his defendant’s situation. I wish “the system” wasn’t so one-sided, I feel bad for the guy.

    It’s $20.00 bucks were talking here, not like $20,000 or some other astronomical rip-off.

    Mind boggling to say the least. Just plain WRONG.

  11. Isn’t there a statute of limitations any more?

    I think the statue of limitations for ‘statue of limitations’ remarks expired after the fifth comment.

  12. According to the article, the guy was arrested after trying to cut (kill?) himself subsequent to the deaths of his mother and brother. Depending on what mental-health resources were available at the time, it’s not unimaginable that the judge ordered him held on the maximum possible bond to keep him in an environment where he could be supervised adequately.

    This is one of those many news stories that don’t give you enough information to second-guess the parties involved. It’s possible that the judge’s actions, whether legal/constitutional or not, saved the guy’s life. Maybe that’s a valid justification, maybe it’s not, but it does offer an alternative possibility besides “teh judge is an ev1l asshol3!!!1!”

  13. Is there any chance of passing off a roll of pennies as a roll of dimes? There’s no way to get pennies into the dime roll. He would have had to use a penny roll.

  14. @20: Sounds like the three monkeys. See no evil… Luckily, they are easily fooled into a dull, giberish-laden complacency by the cashew of simian ululations.

    @19: Is the suggestion that in order to fit pennies into a dime roll, one would have to lathe them down a bit. Shhhh! You trying to get this guy into Federal prison for defacing money?

  15. Nobody has mentioned this yet so I thought I’d add it:

    Eighth Amendment – Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

  16. This sounds fishy. Surely there is a statute of limitations on petty theft. Also, you would have a hard time proving this happened 18 years ago and that the man even knew the roll of dimes was filled with pennies (he could have just as easily been duped).

    Also, it is the cashier’s responsibility to make sure the customer has paid what they owe to take the merchandise. Although the guy may have been crooked, it’s technically the cashier’s fault for not verifying that they were given the correct amount.

  17. Yea, okay I looked it up. This is according to Ohio’s bar association: “Some of the common time limits for starting civil cases are: 21 years to recover real estate; 15 years to sue on written contracts; six years to sue on oral contracts; two years for actions for personal injuries or property damage; and one year for libel, slander, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and professional malpractice. Most other types of lawsuits are subject to a four-year limitation.” Ohio State Bar Association: The Law and You.”

    Pretty sure there is no legal leg to stand on here.

  18. Antinous,
    I was going to post what you did in #19. I don’t think he would have lathed the pennies down–for that amount of effort, stealing $4.50 wouldn’t be worth it at all. So this case is odd to say the least.

  19. @codesuidae in #2:

    Neighbors to the south?

    Are you from Michigan or Canada? Those are the only northern neighbors Ohio has…

  20. The statute of limitations for most felonies in OH is 6 years. That means the state has 6 years from the time the crime is committed to *commence* criminal proceedings against the defendant. One of the ways criminal proceedings are commenced is when a warrant is issued for someone’s arrest.

    Having said that, though $1,000,000 is way to high a bail for a normal theft, and – without more information, implicates constitutional concerns. But there is likely additional information not discussed in the article (and news articles are notoriously bad wrt criminal cases). For example, if the defendant previously jumped bail or escaped from custody, a much higher bail might be appropriate; the fact that this defendant was on the lam for such a long time at least makes that a plausible reason for such a high bail.

  21. So I know a million is excessive, but if you read the linked article you would also see that the man was cutting himself and was distraught about deaths in the family. I am wondering if the judge upheld the million dollar bond to keep him in jail and looked after?

  22. This Order seems to be about preventing the guy from harming himself and thereby depriving the Court of a chance to determine the Charges against him.

    A Judicial pre-emptive strike against a possible deployment of asymmetric warfare, in Gitmo legalese.

  23. let’s put this in perspective: $21.64 in 1990 is worth more than $35.76 US Pesos today!

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