Couple Faces Jail Time Over Library Books (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Cathy and Melvin Duren in courtCathy and Melvin Duren in court

Cathy and Melvin Duren were arraigned in court on April 14 in Adrian, Michigan, for misdemeanor charges of failure to return rental property (video below).

"I never thought that a Dr. Seuss book would lead to this," Cathy told WXYZ. "Nothing was stolen. We borrowed a book and I lost it."

The couple is being prosecuted for two late library books that belong to the Tecumseh Public Library.

The drama began when the couple's teen son checked out a Dr. Seuss book in July 2014 with Cathy's library card for the couple's granddaughter.

Then in April 2015, Cathy used Melvin's card to check out "The Rome Prophecy" for him.

The couple got their last demand letter from the library in December 2015 telling them to return the books and pay the fees and replacement costs if the books were lost.

The couple returned "The Rome Prophecy" in January but had lost the Dr. Seuss book.

Melvin owes about $35 in late fees for "The Rome Prophecy," and Cathy sent $55 to the Lenawee County Prosecutor for late fees and the replacement cost for the Dr. Seuss book.

However, the couple has not paid their $105 "diversion fee" (each) to the Lenawee County Economic Crimes Unit. The diversion fees would have allowed the couple to avoid criminal prosecution; however, the couple said these fees are unfair since there was no criminal offense involved.

The couple were not provided court-appointed attorneys because it's not likely they will go to jail; however, the judge told them they could face up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, if convicted.

They previously avoided jail by posting $100 bonds.

The Lenawee County Prosecutor Burke Castleberry said the couple did not respond to repeated late notices that were sent by the library and refused to work with the economic crimes unit, notes The Daily Telegram.

The Lenawee District Library director Trevor Van Valkenburg said the library is trying to recover over $80,000 in losses from 4,081 delinquent books.

The couple pleaded not guilty to the charges and said they are never going back to the library again.

Sources: WXYZ, The Daily Telegram / Photo Credit: WXYZ/YouTube

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