Michigan couple arraigned, facing jail over lost Dr. Seuss library book

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You probably never want to be late returning materials from the Tecumseh Public Library.

A couple is facing a fine and even jail tine for overdue books from the Michigan library. Cathy and Melvin Duren were arraigned on misdemeanor charges Thursday for Failure to Return Rental Property, WXYZ-TV reported.

A  Dr. Seuss book that had been borrowed in July 2014 by the couple’s son was subsequently lost and another book borrowed by Melvin Duren was returned 8 months late.

In December, the library sent the couple a letter advising them to return the two books and pay the fees or pay replacement costs if the books could not be located. The Durens were able to locate the novel and returned it but could not find the lost Dr. Seuss book.

Melvin Duren still faces about $35 in late fees for the book which was returned. His wife sent a $55 money order to the prosecutor’s office when she was informed she would be charged with a crime, paying the late fees and replacement cost of the missing Dr. Seuss book.

“I never thought that a Dr. Seuss book would lead to this,” Duren told WXYZ. “Nothing was stolen. We borrowed a book and I lost it,” she added.

The Durens acknowledged their initial negligence but felt it was not fair for each to be charged a $105 “diversion fee” to the Lenawee County Economic Crimes Unit in addition to the library fines.

“I can’t image going to jail over it, but I certainly will fight these charges because I’m not guilty,” said Cathy Duren.

The couple, both on disability, were not offered court appointed attorneys. The reason for that, according to WXYZ, is that they are not likely to go to jail, regardless of the judge’s order of 93 days in jail and a fine up to $500. They each paid $100 bond to remain out of jail after the arrest warrants were issued.

“I’m willing to pay the fines,” Melvin Duren told WXYZ, “and I promise I won’t ever come back there.”

His wife echoed his sentiments. “I’ll never go to that library again, probably never any other library again,” she said.

Watch the story in the video below.

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Frieda Powers

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