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Return The Old Rentals Or Else!
Old 03-25-2016, 11:18 AM   #1
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Return The Old Rentals Or Else!

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A North Carolina man was arrested and charged this week for failing to return a VHS rental, “Freddy Got Fingered,” to a now-defunct video store some 14 years ago.

James Meyers, from Concord, was served Tuesday with an arrest warrant and charged with failing to return rental property from 2002. It’s a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $200, according to reports.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...fter-14-years/

Reminds me of a time when I rented out a movie and returned a movie from Blockbuster. About a week later I get a call with them saying the movie isn't returned yet? I firmly told them, "I returned the movie, that's my story and I'm sticking to it." Never heard from them again so I assumed they probably found where the movie was misplaced in their store.

Ah..the good old days of movie rentals.
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:35 AM   #2
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what a bad movie
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:35 PM   #3
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Concord police said in a statement that the warrant was issued in February 2002 by J&J Video in Salisbury, N.C.

“The warrant, which is signed by a magistrate, directs law enforcement officials to arrest a person and take them before a judicial official without unnecessary delay to answer to the charges,” police said in a statement.
I realize that states have different law and procedures regarding civil suits, but is this sort of thing common?

In my state, you can suit someone in court and if they don't appear you will often get a default judgment. You can then go back to court to try to get an order to seize property or garnish wages. I don't think we arrest people in my state for civil (ie non-criminal) disputes, but I am not an expert and may be corrected.

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Old 03-25-2016, 01:55 PM   #4
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In my state, you can suit someone in court and if they don't appear you will often get a default judgment. You can then go back to court to try to get an order to seize property or garnish wages. I don't think we arrest people in my state for civil (ie non-criminal) disputes, but I am not an expert and may be corrected.
It depends on exactly what the law is in that state. And apparently there failing to return a video rental is elevated to a misdemeanor criminal offense after a period of time.

I once did have to go back and find a case file for a shoplifting case that was 12 years old regarding stolen steaks at a grocery store. The guy had been living in Hawaii since the offense and when he came back to the continental U.S. he was arrested. What was amazing was that the store detective was still at the same store so it could be prosecuted! He pled guilty, paid a fine and that was the end of it.
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:12 PM   #5
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Interesting story Walt. Did the steak stealer know there was a warrant out for his arrest or was he completely surprised? Did he do something else that flagged him to the authorities (traffic stop or whatever) or was it just that he came back to the mainland?
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:19 PM   #6
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Our tax dollars hard at work.
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:07 PM   #7
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This happened right up the street from me. The guy was "clean" for all those years and was stopped for something else. Procedure called for running the license, and the earlier problem popped up. The cop, following procedure, had to run the dude through the mill, but he was released right away. Not quite the Barney Fife story, but entertaining none the less.
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Return The Old Rentals Or Else!
Old 03-26-2016, 06:03 AM   #8
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Return The Old Rentals Or Else!

No relation!!!
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Old 03-26-2016, 06:23 AM   #9
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Old 03-26-2016, 06:25 AM   #10
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You are right. He probably should have just stolen it.

The store went out of business, partly due to videos not being returned. While this may have just delayed the inevitable, someone's retirement plan got really screwed up because of people like this.
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Old 03-26-2016, 10:31 AM   #11
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I think video rental stores went out of business because the big chains saw the handwriting on the wall re streaming, and you could buy a DVD movie for not much more than a rental vs the original cost of a vhs first release movie at almost $100.

Just think of how short-lived the slogan "Be kind and rewind" was. And betamax. Technology.... But regardless, the guy should have returned the video!
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:30 PM   #12
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Interesting story Walt. Did the steak stealer know there was a warrant out for his arrest or was he completely surprised? Did he do something else that flagged him to the authorities (traffic stop or whatever) or was it just that he came back to the mainland?
I gather that he had forgotten about the event but was not surprised that it surfaced when he came into the mainland again. Everyone is warned that if they don't show for court the judge will issue a bench warrant. Do U.S. citizens from Hawaii have to go through customs? Maybe that was it or they check everyone or do random checks and it popped up that way. I didn't inquire of the details about that because I didn't care, it didn't affect the case in any way.
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:49 PM   #13
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I used to rent VHS tapes at my local Blockbuster many years ago and twice was accused of not returning the VHS tapes and was mailed a bill for around $65 or so for the each missing VHS. I would call each time and insist I personally returned it in the store, in the return slot, the time of day, and a description of the employee who was working the counter at the time. The person on the phone would accept my explanation. Much later, I learned that a particular employee was found to be stealing the VHS tapes from the return slot, and fired. So apparently they do investigate when a number of product go missing over a short period of time. I don't know what I would have done if they insisted I pay that bloated amount for each used VHS tape.
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Old 03-26-2016, 02:23 PM   #14
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This is why I keep the "You returned the movie" email from Redbox.

Now I know I have to keep these emails forever....... there is no limitation to the length of the "long arm of the law".

Frankly, there should be a $$$ value stuck on these laws, total value of theft(s) under $50 = forget it in 2 yrs.
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Old 03-26-2016, 03:11 PM   #15
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I'm just happy that any overdue library books from 1st grade got settled .
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Old 03-26-2016, 03:32 PM   #16
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I gather that he had forgotten about the event but was not surprised that it surfaced when he came into the mainland again. Everyone is warned that if they don't show for court the judge will issue a bench warrant. Do U.S. citizens from Hawaii have to go through customs? Maybe that was it or they check everyone or do random checks and it popped up that way. I didn't inquire of the details about that because I didn't care, it didn't affect the case in any way.
No more inspection for US citizens coming in from Hawaii than from any other state. Maybe the TSA checks for warrants but I would think they would have to be federal vs state or county or municipality. Who knows.
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Old 03-26-2016, 06:49 PM   #17
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The guy was "clean" for all those years and was stopped for something else. Procedure called for running the license, and the earlier problem popped up.
They don't even have to stop you to run the plates. In our state, they use automatic readers. The camera looks at plates in its field of view as the LEO is driving, then runs the plate automatically to see if there are outstanding warrants! The LEO doesn't need to enter anything manually. It is constantly running in the background, looking for VHS scofflaws and other bad guys.
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Old 03-27-2016, 11:53 AM   #18
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Frankly, there should be a $$$ value stuck on these laws, total value of theft(s) under $50 = forget it in 2 yrs.
This is how I thought it would be setup. You have a private contract with a VHS rental retailer. Perhaps you put up a security deposit. If you default they would depending on the terms of the contract keep the security deposit, or suit you in a civil case.

I did not expect law enforcement to be involved in any way.

If, on the other hand, you were caught shoplifting the tapes from the VHS rental store, then of course that would indeed be a criminal manner.

I thought we lost the concept of debtors prisons when we separated from Europe. This seems kinda close.

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Old 03-27-2016, 01:31 PM   #19
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It depends on exactly what the law is in that state. And apparently there failing to return a video rental is elevated to a misdemeanor criminal offense after a period of time.

I once did have to go back and find a case file for a shoplifting case that was 12 years old regarding stolen steaks at a grocery store. The guy had been living in Hawaii since the offense and when he came back to the continental U.S. he was arrested. What was amazing was that the store detective was still at the same store so it could be prosecuted! He pled guilty, paid a fine and that was the end of it.

In this case, the serious issue was failing to appear in court and then fleeing the state, not the actual shoplifting.

Was he convicted of "failing to appear" or did they actually go through the process of a court trial for shoplifting?
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Old 03-27-2016, 02:01 PM   #20
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Was he convicted of "failing to appear" or did they actually go through the process of a court trial for shoplifting?
He pled guilty to the misdemeanor theft since all witnesses were available and so there was no point going through a trial. He paid a fine, I forget how much but it wasn't horrendous and that was the end of it.

BTW, in MD where I worked that wouldn't happen with a video rental. Those are civil cases and I suppose the video store could send it to collections but it would never become a criminal case where any warrants would be issued.
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