Fountain-Falling Texter in Court for Alleged Theft

PHOTO A Pennsylvania womans fall into a fountain at a local mall after text messaging while walking has taken on a life of its own when video of the incident goes viral online.
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The problems continue to pile up for the Pennsylvania woman who became the unwitting star of a viral video after she fell into a mall fountain while text messaging.

In the hours that followed Cathy Cruz Marrero's appearance on "Good Morning America" today to talk about the fall and its aftermath, she was in court for a status hearing on charges of five felony counts, including theft by deception and receiving stolen property.

Marrero, 49, was charged in October 2009 for allegedly using a coworker's credit cards to make more than $5,000 in purchases at a Target and a Zales jewelry store -- $1,055 of those purchases were dismissed from the case in previous hearings.

She is expected to face sentencing at her next court date, on April 21, according to the Reading Eagle. Marrero is likely facing about six months of house arrest and electronic monitoring.

Her probation ended in October.

Video of Marrero's tumble earlier this month has attracted more than a million and a half views on YouTube and been shared widely on Facebook and Twitter.

She hinted on "Good Morning America" that she may sue the mall where she fell. She has hired a lawyer to explore whether someone should have come to her aid rather than posting her image on the Internet.

"I didn't get an apology, what I got was, 'At least nobody knows it was you,' " Marrero said. "But I knew it was me."

Marrero didn't realize what happened until she was already in the water.

"Unfortunately, I didn't have anything to grab onto and hold my balance," she said.

Her lawyer, James Polyak, said they intend to hold the responsible parties accountable; whether requesting or demanding an apology and requesting an explanation on why this happened and how it happened.

Polyak plans to search for the identities of those responsible for making the video public.

Polyak suspects an official within the mall's security office viewed the footage and allowed it to be videotaped onto a cell phone.

Marrero was replying to a text from a friend from her church.

Court documents indicate that Marrero has had her own legal troubles.

She has been out on $7,500 bail since her 2009 charges for alleged theft, records show.

According to court records, Ileana Rivera of Reading, Pa., who worked at the Zales jewelry store in the Fairgrounds Square Mall with Marrero, reported that Marrero had used her credit cards without permission.

Marrero allegedly made $4,177 in purchases at Zales and $1,055 in purchases at a Target around the time of August 2007, records show.

Rivera admitted she at one time had permitted Marrero to use her Target credit card to make a small purchase but did not give her permission to make other purchases.

In August 2007, Rivera noticed she hadn't received her credit card bills and discovered that her address on the accounts was allegedly changed to that of Marrero's.

According to public court documents, Marrero has convictions for retail theft four times and one other theft in New York from 1997 to 1999 and retail theft in York County in 1999.

She also received 12 months of probation after being convicted of a hit-and-run charge in Berks County in 2009.

As for Marrero's more recent problems, a security-camera video, which shows her texting while walking, has made her a viral video star. Clearly not paying attention, she trips and plunges head first into the mall fountain.

She then casually gets up, fishes out her cell phone, climbs out, looks around and walks away.

Marrero said she embarrassed after the incident.

"I was like, 'I'm hoping nobody saw me. So let me just walk away,'" she said.

A woman checked on Marrero after the fall but no one from mall security followed up, she said.

She said they arrived 20 minutes after she left.

Fountain Fall Goes Viral

Marrero, who works at a store in the Berkshire mall in Wyomissing, admitted that she laughed, too, at first. But after being laughed at by millions, she said, no one has taken her feelings into consideration.

She learned that her fall went viral from her nephew, who called to tell her it was on YouTube.

"Holding Those Accountable"

"Nobody called ... 'Are you ok?'" she said. "It shows in the video nobody went to my aid."

Marrero's husband, Walter, said security officials should have helped her.

"They should have responded to that immediately; they didn't know if she got hurt," he said.

Cathy Marrero agreed. "It could have been anybody's mother. It could have been a senior citizen falling ... and would they have gotten the same treatment as I did?"

On the raw video, voices can be heard discussing her fall: "Oh, my God, play it back, play it back."

At one point the tape is played back and viewed from a different camera.

Marrero believes the voices are mall security employees.

An official with Allied Properties, the company that owns the mall, told WFMZ that the posting of the video is under investigation.

Marrero said she has learned a lesson and has some words of advice for the younger generation.

"Do not text and walk ...," she said. "The fountain could have been empty. ... I could have walked into a bus, you know. ...I could have got hit by a car. It can happen anywhere ... anywhere."

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