Couple Arraigned on Larceny Charges for Late Library Books

ABC News:

Couple Arraigned on Larceny Charges for Late Library Books

Two overdue library books have landed a married couple in Tecumseh, Michigan, afoul of the law. Not only have the husband and wife been fined more than $200, but they were arraigned in court Thursday, each charged with larceny of rental equipment. “We were appalled, totally appalled,” Catherine Duren, 44, told ABC News today. “We didn’t commit a crime.”

In the summer of 2014, Duren’s son checked out a Dr. Seuss book for Duren’s granddaughter from the Tecumseh District Library. But the book was misplaced and the library was sending notices to her son’s email, who was a minor at the time and never told his parents about the notices, Catherine Duren said.

Catherine Duren said she wasn’t notified directly until October 2014, when she said she received notice from the library that the late charges were now going on her credit report, but she didn’t understand that the book itself had not been returned.
Both Catherine and her husband, Melvin, 63, have health problems that put them on disability, she said, so they only receive a small amount of money through Social Security checks. Most of that money goes towards their medications, Duren said.

“We had no intent of not paying the fees,” she said, noting that she and her husband intended to pay the library fees eventually.

However, in May 2015, she and her husband received another letter saying the book would have to be replaced, so she went to the library in person to clarify the matter.

Boy. would I be in trouble!

Apparently an innocent Dr. Seuss book can lead to jail.

I am confident that my library fines have added several fine books to my library.

New York overcame its reputation as a city of crime by taking a hard line on small supposedly innocuous crimes. If everyone took library books there would be no public libraries. I just hope they throw the book at them.

They would, except all the books have been checked out and none have been returned. Hence there are no books to be thrown. :smiley:

The last time our local library was dogging me for some book that I know I returned, I decided to go to the library and search for it myself. Sure enough, I found it right on the shelf where it belonged. Apparently they had shelved it without checking it in.

The previous time they were dogging me, the book checkout machine had not logged me out, so the next patron checked out under my card. The library fixed that from happening to people anymore, though, so I’m told (I wasn’t the only one).

Usually I happily pay my fines, though, supporting their ability to buy books.


My dad once paid a $2.30 late fee for a library book that was marked as costing 75 cents.
He paid the fee, told them he had just bought the book, and walked away with it. They were too stunned to say anything. But that was back in the good old days when no one would take you to court over a library book. :sad_yes:

Disgusting. Americans have become fascist, legalistic, horrible people.
Biggest prison population in the world. Homeless people all over. Really shameful.

“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!”
― Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

I bet they could buy a new copy of the book for a lot less than these fees.

Why, bless your heart


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit