Burlington Man Arrested, Jailed For Overdue Library Books

Burlington Man Arrested, Jailed For Overdue Library Books »Play Video
BURLINGTON - A Burlington, Washington man has been ordered to pay a library $150 and do community service after he was arrested for overdue library books.

The arrest was for failure to appear before a judge to answer charges of "Detaining Property." The property was library books the man had checked out last July.

Jeremy Jones called Burlington police to his apartment recently to report an incidence of mail theft. Police ran a background check and told Jones and his girlfriend there was a warrant for Jones arrest.

They explained about the library books.

Jones insists he tried to give his overdue library books to police. "They wouldn't even take them. That kind of irked me," he said. "I told them they are right on the table, take them. They said 'No, we have a warrant, we have to arrest you.'"

"They handcuffed him." said Jones' friend, Misty Colburn. "He didn't put up a fight or anything, but they handcuffed him and went away."

Arrested for, among other things having the book: Mysteries of the Unexplained, How ordinary men and women have experienced strange things. Jones was released after spending an hour at the county jail.

At the Burlington Library, they insist this isn't strange. They tried over and over again to get their books back. Letters and seven phone calls they said.

"After months of dealing with this we sent a letter from the police chief giving them one last chance." said Librarian Christine Perkins. "And warning if they do not respond they will be invited to talk to a judge about it."

Perkins says Jones didn't show up for a court hearing and a warrant was issued. She said the library didn't sent out the police, they just did a normal check for outstanding warrants.

"I'm sorry, they are books for crying out loud. if it was a computer part or a CD or something, I could understand" said Colburn said. "You know, they are books they are replaceable."

"I could see them revoking my library privileges, but having me arrested is a little bit extreme," jones added.

The library insists no one wanted to arrest anyone, but the librarian suspects the arrest could have an upside. "Well, I'm interested to see if we get a lot of books turned in in the next week or so."