A 19-year-old was pulled over at a traffic stop in Colorado a few weeks ago and quickly found himself arrested on an outstanding warrant. The charge? Not drugs or murder or even tax fraud. No, the perp was picked up because of an overdue DVD from his local library.
The suspect had checked out the 2004 martial arts epic House of Flying Daggers from a Littleton, CO, public library and never returned it. He claims he inadvertently packed it up with his belongings during a move last year.
The library valued the DVD at $31.45, just over its $30 threshold for charging offenders with theft. They claim to have sent multiple notices and two court summonses to the teen, and it was only after he was a no-show at court for a second time that they put in for an arrest warrant.
No shock here, the teen and his family deny ever getting any of the notices or the summonses and call the whole thing a “clear violation of his right to due process.” They say the notices were sent to the wrong address, and point to the “return to sender” stamp on some of them as proof.
The city of Littleton claims that they lost $7,000 worth of items from that particular library last year.
“I understand the library’s need to get their property back, but it is bothersome to me that they would go to such extremes,” said the teen’s father, who also happens to be a firefighter in Littleton.
After all the brouhaha surrounding the arrest, the city has changed its cost threshold on overdue DVDs. Additionally, they have decided to reimburse the teen’s family for all the costs pertaining to his arrest, which is being expunged from his record.
So was the library in the right pressing charges against the delinquent DVD borrower? Is there a difference between not returning a library DVD and stealing one from a video store?
Got An Overdue Book Or Movie? Go To Jail [The Denver Channel]