They once littered shopping malls in America with ubiquity and attracted binge watchers with shelves of VHS tapes, microwave popcorn and boxes of candy – and a reminder of “Be Kind, Rewind”.
Video rentals, which have come closer to extinction with streaming services like Netflix and technological change, may be a thing of the past, but an overdue rental has become a contemporary issue for a Texas woman.
The woman, identified as Caron Scarborough Davis on court records, recently learned that she has a 21-year arrest warrant pending in Oklahoma.
Prosecutors said Ms. Davis failed to return a copy of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, a television sitcom that aired from 1996 to 2003. In 1999 she rented the episode tape from a video store in Norman, Okla for court documents.
She was charged with misappropriating rental properties and an arrest warrant was issued in March 2000. The store where she rented the Movie Place tape closed in 2008, according to KOKH Fox 25 in Oklahoma.
In an indictment, prosecutors said Ms. Davis “intentionally, illegally and criminally embezzled one (1) video cassette tape, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, valued at $ 58.59.”
Ms. Davis, 52, discovered the pending arrest warrant after her marriage and tried to change her name on her driver’s license, KOKH reported Thursday.
“I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” she said.
Ms. Davis said auto officers referred her to the Cleveland County, Oklahoma district attorney, where a woman brought charges against her.
“She told me it was over the VHS tape and I had to get her to do it again because I thought, ‘This is crazy,” said Ms. Davis. “That girl is kidding, right? She wasn’t joking. “
Ms. Davis could not be reached immediately on Sunday.
On April 21st, prosecutors dropped Ms. Davis’s embezzlement suit on “the best interests of justice”. KOKH Fox 25 had contacted the prosecutor the day before about the indictment.
Greg Mashburn, the district attorney for Cleveland, Garvin and McClain counties of Oklahoma, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday, nor did Tim D. Kuykendall, who was the district attorney when the warrant was issued.
Sandi Harding, the general manager of the world’s last blockbuster video store in Bend, Oregon, said in an interview on Sunday that filing criminal charges for a film that has not been returned is unduly punishable.
“We definitely haven’t sent out an arrest warrant for anyone for this,” she said. “That’s a little crazy for me.”
Blockbuster charges daily late fees of 49 to 99 cents for overdue videos up to 10 days. After that, the store will charge customers up to $ 19.99 for swapping out one of its DVDs or Blu-ray discs, Ms. Harding said.
In some cases, the store that doesn’t rent VHS tapes will send overdue accounts on for pickup, she said.
“We would never charge anyone $ 100 for a copy of Scooby-Doo that they never returned,” she said.
It was not immediately clear who owned the now-closed video store where Ms. Davis had borrowed the tape, or whether she owed late fees. She told KOKH Fox 25 that she couldn’t remember checking out the video and said she was living with a man at the time who had two young daughters.
“I think he took it and didn’t take it back or anything,” she said. “I’ve never seen this show in my life – just not my cup of tea.”