Teenager Goes to Jail for Overdue DVD

We've all done it before; you rent out a DVD and you forget to return it. If you're like me, you'll return it and lie to the nice man behind the counter about why it's so late. If you're lucky, he might waive any charges but worst-case scenario, you hand over your late fees and you forget about it. If you live in Littleton, forgetting about it and going about your day may not be so easy.

Littleton resident Aaron Hensen rented House of Flying Daggers from his local library last year and accidentally packed it when he was moving house. Fast forward a few months and Aaron is pulled over an arrested by a state trooper on Interstate 70.

"(He) was arrested for a failure to appear warrant out of the City of Littleton,” Aaron's father, Allen Henson, explained to 7News. Allen said he couldn't believe it when he got the call saying his son was in jail for an overdue DVD from Littleton's Bemis Library. “This is a clear violation of his right to due process,” he said.

However, Aaron says the City attorney told him that they weren't interested in due process. "The city attorney told me, they weren’t concerned about due process. What they were concerned about was their DVD."

Littleton has a $30 threshold when it comes to overdue property. If a DVD or book is worth less than this, they won't go to extensive means to get it back. But, considering House of Flying Daggers was valued at $31.45, the City really wanted to get it back.

7News reports that the library sent late notices to Aaron's old address. Aaron says he never got any phone calls or messages from the library, but the City claims it tried to contact Aaron on numerous occasions, including leaving two messages on his cell phone. A summons was sent out but this was returned. A second summons was sent and this one was not returned. When Aaron didn't show up for the court date, a warrant for his arrest was issued.

The Hensons ended up paying about $460 in charges: $200 to get Aaron out of jail, $200 to get his car out of the impound lot and $60 in court fees. Although all charges were dropped and Aaron returned the DVD, the arrest will remain on his record. The Mayor of Littleton told 7News that, in light of the story, the City would be changing its policy on overdue DVDs. "We're not going to arrest people who don't return $30 DVDs," he said.

Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.