Student’s money troubles drove her to use roommate’s debit card, leading to charge

by Grant Rodgers

A Simpson College freshman’s own money troubles led her to take a roommate’s debit card without permission and spend over $100, she told police on Tuesday.

Indianola police charged Emalie Cipale, 19, with unauthorized use of a debit card, according to a police report. In an interview with an officer, Cipale admitted to taking a debit card from one of her roommates in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house and using it six different times last week between March 19 and 22.

Cipale charged a total of $137.09 to the card, including two purchases at a Casey’s convenience store in Indianola and one purchase at the town’s Taco Johns. She also used the card at a Target, Starbucks and clothing store in Ankeny.

An officer was called to the Simpson security office on Tuesday to meet with the roommate and Director of Security Chris Frerichs, according to the police report. The roommate told the officer she realized on Saturday that her debit card was missing.

The roommate believed Cipale was responsible, and she had noticed Taco Johns and Target bags in the room around the time the card went missing. Cipale had previously told the roommate that she was having financial troubles, and acted surprised when her roommate first told her the card was missing.

Cipale first admitted to making the purchases over the phone when an officer called her. She was cited and released.

Cipale, a Des Moines resident, is listed as a freshman in the Simpson College student directory, and is still enrolled in the college, Jim Thorius, vice president for planning and student development, said in an email.

The roommate was reimbursed by her credit union for the money that was taken.