Tecumseh couple could face charges over lost library book

Tecumseh couple could face charges over lost library book

TECUMSEH, MI (WTOL) - Can you imagine going to jail over a lost library book? It could happen to one Tecumseh couple.

Cathy and Melvin Duren are facing charges through the Lenawee County Economic Crime unit.

Duren says she lost a Dr. Seuss book while it was checked out in 2014, and her husband didn't return a novel in a timely manner. She says she remembers getting notices in the mail.

"What went through my head was we would just pay them next month," said Duren.

But they waited too long and the case had been turned over to the Lenawee County Economic Crime Unit, a division of the Lenawee County Prosecutor's office.

Both of them were charged with failure to return rented property.

The library started working with this unit in 2015 after leaders say they were losing about $10,000 dollars worth of books and other unreturned items per year.

"We are stewards of the tax dollar. People trust us to take care of their tax dollars and provide them with a wonderful resource that is the library," said Gayle Hazelbaker, director of the Tecumseh Library.

Now the Durens must pay a "diversion fee" or risk having warrants issued for their arrest. They say it just doesn't seem right.

"I haven't committed a crime and that's the reason why we're not paying," said Melvin Duren.

The Durens are seeking legal counsel. WTOL will continue to follow this story.
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