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Warren — An ex-Macomb County clerk was video arraigned Friday on one count of larceny over $1,000 but less than $20,000 in an alleged looting of an elderly woman’s bank account.

Karen Spranger, 66, was given personal bond and will live with a sister in Macomb County, pending a May 14 probable cause hearing on the offense, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Spranger — whom police had been seeking for several weeks — was arrested Thursday at a Tim Hortons doughnut shop at 12 Mile and Mound after someone spotted her and called police. She was arrested without incident. Police had theorized Spranger was homeless and living at various Metro Detroit motels.

The charges stem from a Warren police investigation that began in January when a bank called to report concerns that an elderly customer had been taken advantage of by someone.

When police officials interviewed the 78-year-old Warren woman, they were told Spranger had been living with her and acting as a caregiver until the pair argued over money missing from the victim’s purse.

Warren police obtained bank video that they said showed Spranger making eight withdrawals at an ATM from the victim’s account without her permission. Police estimate at least $1,600 was taken without the victim’s knowledge.

Spranger was ousted from her job as elected Macomb County clerk last year after an investigation turned up evidence that she had falsified her residence on election filing papers. A St. Clair Circuit Court judge ruled since she lied on documents, she could not hold the $108,000-a-year position she had won in the 2016 election.

In her 15 months in office, Spranger frequently sparred with county workers, commissioners and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel over the operation of her office.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

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