This is one for the books: A Texas man who checked a book out of his local library in 2010 and failed to return it was arrested and jailed on Wednesday.
According to KWTX-TV, 19-year-old Jory Enck of Copperas Cove, Texas, was arrested and put behind bars over an unreturned GED study guide. His booking is a result of a local ordinance put in place nearly four years ago that allows police to arrest patrons for not returning overdue library materials within 90 days and failing to promptly respond to phone calls or emails from the library.
“The reason they passed it was that they were spending a tremendous amount of money replacing these materials that people just didn’t return,” Copperas Cove municipal court Judge Bill Price said. Price said that the ordinance has faced more than a little resistance, saying local reaction has been one of "universal hatred, [as] nobody wants to get arrested over a library book.”
“The other side of that is people that go to our library and can't have these materials, they're put out too," he added.
Sergeant Julie Lehmann of the Copperas Cove Police Department confirmed that if police come across a patron during a routine stop who has been issued with a library warrant, they will always make an arrest. Lehmann said that arrests are usually made when police make "contact with the individuals on a traffic stop, or we go to their residence or wherever."
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"And usually when we make contact, it's based on something else, like a traffic stop," she said. "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."
Enck was later released on a $200 bond, which Price said is standard. KEYE-TV reported that by the following day, the book had been returned to the library.
According to the Killeen Daily Herald, Enck was also arrested in 2012 for a more serious crime. The publication reported at the time that Enck, then 18, was a suspect in a string of 13 vehicle burglaries that took place overnight. Enck was jailed on $50,000 bond.
However, Enck is apparently not the first, or youngest, person to run into trouble from the law for an overdue library book. Last year, Infowars reported that police officers visited 4-year-old library delinquent Katelyn Jageman after she amassed $81.60 in overdue library fees for failing to promptly return items including “Dora the Explorer: The Halloween Cat,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Corduroy’s Halloween.”