Couple charged in case of late library books

Posted at 6:30 PM, Apr 14, 2016

Cathy and Melvin Duren have no plans on ever checking out a book at a public library again after the stress the two say they've felt over being prosecuted for two late library books in their hometown of Tecumseh.

7 Action News was in court Thursday as the husband and wife were each arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of Failure to Return Rental Property.

The couple thinks it's unfair that they never would have been charged, if they had each just paid a $105 "diversion fee" to the Lenawee County Economic Crimes Unit in addition to the monies owed to the Tecumseh Public Library.

The couple's teenage son used Cathy's library card to check out a Dr. Seuss book in July 2014. It was for their granddaughter to read during a visit, but the book was lost. 

In April 2015, Cathy used her husband's library card to borrow The Rome Prophecy for him to read.

In December, the Durens got the last demand letter from the library that advised them to return the two books and pay the fees and replacement costs if they could not locate the books.

The letter also advised them that they could be charged with a crime.

In January, they found and returned The Rome Prophecy, but they couldn't locate the Dr. Seuss book.

Melvin Duren owes approximately $35 in late fees for the book that has already been returned.

Earlier this year, Cathy Duren sent the prosecutor's office a $55 money order to cover the late fees and replacement cost for the lost Dr. Seuss book.

They each remain free on a $100 bond.