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Couple Arrested for Overdue Library Book

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Libraryby Lou Colagiovanni,

Melvin and Cathy Duren of Tecumseh, Michigan recently had warrants issued for their arrest — over an overdue library book. In July of 2014, the couple’s son used their library card to borrow A Hatful of Seuss from the Tecumseh District Library. In April 2015, Cathy Duren borrowed The Rome Prophecy. The family forgot to return both books.

After receiving four notices from the library asking them to return the books and pay the resulting late fees, the Duren family did indeed return The Rome Prophecy. However, they did not return A Hatful of Seuss, as their son had lost it.

Because the Durens did not return the Dr. Seuss book, the library contacted the Economic Crimes Unit (ECU) of the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office. A detective by the name of Robert Kellogg became involved, demanding the family pay the library late fees; the amount owed has not been disclosed. However, local reporting by The Tecumseh Herald found that between 2013 and 2014, library patrons had a total of 248 overdue items, and those overdue items generated $3,061 in late fees. That equals, on average, around $12 in fees per item. The actual amount the Durens owed to the library remains unknown, but the Dr. Seuss book can be acquired on Amazon for as little as 63 cents.

The Durens were also required to pay $105 each for a “diversion fee” to avoid prosecution. However, Cathy Duren claims she had already offered to pay the library their unspecified late fee, as well as the cost of replacing the Dr. Seuss book. She further claims her payment was refused after she and her husband declined to pay the $105 diversion fee.

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