Michigan Couple Faces Jail Time Over Lost Dr. Seuss Library Book

A Michigan couple could serve up to 93 days and face a maximum $500 fine for failing to return a novel and a Dr. Seuss book borrowed from the local public library.


In December, Cathy and Melvin Duren of Tecumseh, Michigan, received a letter advising them to return the books and pay the fees, as well as the replacement costs if they couldn’t find the books. The letter also informed them that they could be charged with a crime.

In January, the couple was able to find and return “The Rome Prophecy." They lost a Dr. Seuss book their teenage son borrowed for their granddaughter in July 2014.

Admitting their negligence in returning the books, they still believe it’s unfair to each be charged a $105 “diversion fee” to the Lenawee County Economic Crimes Unit in addition to fines owed to the Tecumseh Public Library, WXYZ-TV reported.

“I can’t image going to jail over it, but I certainly will fight these charges because I’m not guilty,” Cathy Duren said.

Cathy Duren sent a $55 money order to the prosecutor’s office to cover the late fees and replacement costs for the lost book. But Cathy Duren said her money order was refused because she and her husband declined to pay the additional $210 in diversion fees to the Lenawee County prosecutor’s crime unit. As a result, the couple had to pay $100 bond to avoid going to jail last Friday when they were served with arrest warrants.

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