Breaking the law one book at a time, hundreds 'wanted' for overdue titles

Breaking the law one book at a time, hundreds 'wanted' for overdue titles

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach's most wanted book thieves! Hundreds of people have warrants out for failing to return overdue borrowed materials from the Chapin Memorial Library, you could be one of these offenders and not even know it!

This misdemeanor charge won't send officers knocking at your door, but it could force you to face a judge. There is a pretty simple way to clear your record though.

"We'd rather have the books back and the people continuing to come to the library than to do the warrant," Deb Warrington with the Chapin Memorial Library said. "It's a last ditch effort."

Missing books are no small business for Myrtle Beach. They are paid for with city tax dollars. So, when your book doesn't get turned in, you could be considered a "wanted" offender.

"We have the right to pursue legally to get those books back or to get the expense of those books back," Warrington said. "That could mean two books, that could mean 10 books, depending on the price of the book."

Nearly 900 people are currently red-listed as book borrowing bandits, the offenses dating back to 1996 and totaling some $82,000 in losses that come out of the library's operating budget.

Offenders are sent reminders by phone and email, telling them to return what isn't theirs.

"If they just brought the books back, there wouldn't be an issue," Warrington said. "That's the key."

While they aren't going to arrest you for your late books, if you're pulled over for speeding or commit a more serious crime, that's when the warrant will come into play. Some libraries will also turn over unpaid balances to collection agencies, meaning those late fines could hurt your credit score.

To see if you're one of these late-book offenders, you can head over to Myrtle Beach Police Department's website, click on the "wanted list," and search for your name.

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