Catherine and Melvin Duren from Tecumseh were arraigned in court last Thursday and fined more than $200 for larceny of rental equipment...regarding library books. 

Here's how it went down, according to the couple: in the summer of 2014, Catherine's son checked out a Dr. Seuss book for his daughter from the Tecumseh District Library. Her son lost the book, and started receiving email notices from the library. He was a minor at the time and didn't tell his parents about it.

Catherine claims that she, herself, was not notified about the lost book until October of that year, when she was told that the charges would be on her credit report. She says that she was still not clear whether or not the book had actually been found. Both she and her husband are on disability and a fixed income, but say that they had planned to pay the fees eventually.

In 2015, she checked out a novel, which was also lost when they moved to a new apartment. They received a letter about the previous book and  the current book, charging them $55. They later found the novel, but she assumed her husband had returned it, and vice versa.

Last month, the Economic Crimes Unit of the Lenawee County Prosecutor's Office sent a notice that they would be prosecuted for larceny of rental equipment if they didn't pay the fees. Catherine says that they sent a money order via mail, but were threatened over the phone. They later found out that there was a warrant out for their arrest and a $100 bond over their heads.

They appeared in court last week and pleaded not guilty to larceny of rental equipment, which carries a maximum sentence of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Catherine told ABC 7 News, “If we intended to steal a book, why would we go in legally to check them out?”

She has a valid point. Obviously, renting books from the library carries responsibility. But this seems to be way over the top.

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