Woman served arrest warrant for overdue library books

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(CNN) — It’s one thing to find out you owe a library fine for a book you forgot to return… But one Michigan woman found out there was a warrant for her arrest.

Melinda Sanders-Jones, a mother of five, didn’t even know she had overdue library books until she visited the library a few months ago.

She was told she couldn’t use the printer until she returned them, so Sanders called her fiancé at the time to check their son’s bookshelf, and sure enough, they were there.

So she went home, grabbed them, and returned them to the library, she assumed she would get a notice about the late fees.

“I really don’t think that going to jail over those two books is OK, and I definitely didn’t want to steal their property,” Sanders-Jones said.

Sanders-Jones didn’t even know there was a warrant for her arrest until her boss called her after doing a background check that she needed for a promotion.

“My boss called me on Tuesday to inform me that I had warrant and I had to pull over because I started laughing and he was like ‘no, I’m serious.’ And I was like, no, there’s no way, there’s no way I have a warrant,” Sanders-Jones said.

The Charlotte Library said they couldn’t comment on specific cases, but said late notices go out after a few weeks, a month, three months, and again at four months. But Sanders said she never got them, because she moved a lot while trying to escape an abusive relationship.

“Any mail that was there, I didn’t get. Soon I ended in the Siren Shelter that’s here in Charlotte that helps with domestic violence victims and your address is confidential,” Sanders-Jones said. “You know, I had to change my phone number, I had to change my entire life.”

After a court date, getting fingerprinted, and a whole lot of anxiety, Sanders is stuck waiting for her next court date, and hoping the charges get dropped.

“It’s just ridiculous. Like, there is no reason that this needs to be happening. Like I said, they would have had a better chance of getting their money if they would have sent it to collections…because I would have known,” Sanders-Jones said.

Her next court date is November 7. She is charged with failure to return rental property, which carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail, and a $500 fine. Sanders-Jones said she can’t work for her current employer until the case is settled.

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