Overdue library books could mean jail time

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) A Myrtle Beach woman is charged with holding on to over $100 in library books for almost five years.

In November of 2007, the Chapin Memorial Library filed a report with Myrtle Beach Police because one library patron had checked out $113 in library books and DVDs but had failed to return them.

"It's fairly rare," said City of Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Mark Kruea. "If you fail to return materials in a timely manner, we'll send you a letter, advise you of the consequences, but ultimately, it can get to the warrant stage."

The suspect, 29-year-old Britzi Denise Waddell, checked out the following items on July 12, 2007, which were due on August 2, 2007:

  • Country Sing Along (DVD)
  • I Can Go Potty!
  • Joe Camp's Benji (DVD)
  • Kathie Lee`s Rock`N Tots Cafe`
  • Rock`N Round Up
  • Lullaby & Good Night
  • Space Jam (DVD)
  • The Kingfisher Nursery Rhyme Songbook

When the items were not returned, the library reported that they sent a letter to Waddell in October 2007 that the 15 day grace period had passed.

"When you check out a library book, you're literally borrowing public property," Kruea said. "If you do not return it in a timely manner, you're likely to face the consequences."

Waddell was charged with larceny/failure to return library books on Tuesday.

Some people are saying the punishment doesn't fit the crime, because almost everyone has had an overdue library book at one point or another.

"That's ridiculous," said Lindsey Bickert, who admits to forgetting to return library books on occasion. "That's like not returning a movie to Blockbuster. Are they going to send you to jail for that too?"

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WMBF News is looking into what these charges mean, and how long you can hold onto a library book before your overdue fines become criminal charges.

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