If you check a book out in Copperas Cove, Texas, you best make darn sure you return it. Failure to do so could result in a trip to the big house.
Jory Enck learned that the hard way when he was recently arrested over a book, a GED study guide, that he checked out and failed to return three years ago, KEYE reports.
The city ordinance was passed because some patrons weren't responding to requests to return their library materials. "The reason they passed it was that they were spending a tremendous amount of money replacing these materials that people just didn't return," Bill Price, the city's municipal judge, told KEYE.
Enck was released on a $200 bond. KEYE visited the Copperas Cove Public Library and found that the book in question had since been returned. Inside, they found Enck's library card.
Yahoo News spoke with Sgt. Julie Lehmann of the Copperas Cove Police Department about the arrest. She said it isn't unusual. "I don't have statistics on it, but it is quite frequently," she said.
Lehmann said her police department doesn't aggressively pursue people who have overdue books. She explained that what happens is the police usually make "contact with the individuals on a traffic stop, or we go to their residence or wherever." Lehmann said something similar happened in the case of Enck.
She continued, "And usually when we make contact, it's based on something else, like a traffic stop. The officer is going to run their driver's license and it's going to show that they have an active local warrant out of our city. So it's not as if we're actively out there going after these felony book thieves."
And while it may sound a bit odd to see a person arrested over a missing library book, it has happened before. In 2011, an Iowa man was arrested for failure to return roughly $700 worth of items from his local branch.
Christopher Anspach pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. He also was required to pay a $625 fine and "restitution for the materials," according to KCCI.
And then there was the case from 2012, in which police went to the home of 4-year-old Katelyn Jageman to investigate four books that had not been returned. Fortunately, Katelyn stayed out of prison, but her mother was asked to pay an $81.60 fine. The books, which included "Dora the Explorer: The Halloween Cat," were also returned, according to KDKA.