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Texas Man Arrested And Jailed For Overdue Library Book

A Texas man was arrested by Copperas Cove Police last week for failing to return a library book checked out over three years ago.
KFVS12 News
Jory Enck, who checked out a GED study guide in 2010, was placed behind bars last Wednesday after police noticed a warrant for the overdue book during a routine encounter. According to a highly controversial city ordinance, any person who does not respond to calls or emails about an an overdue library book checked out for more than 90 days will be reported to the municipal court.

Jory Enck
Jory Enck

“The reason they passed it was that they were spending a tremendous amount of money replacing these materials that people just didn’t return,” said Municipal Court Judge Bill Price.

Copperas Cove Police Officer Julie Lehmann confirmed that police would always make an arrest anytime a delinquent reader with a library warrant was encountered during routine stops.

Despite the city’s attempts to justify the ordinance, almost all of Copperas Cove’s residents are adamantly opposed to filling up crowded jails with library patrons.

“Universal hatred, 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,” Price said.

Copperas Cove is not alone when it comes to using vital city resources to track down rouge card-carrying library members.

Last year, a 4-year-old in Freeport, Pennsylvania was visited by police after failing to promptly return several books including “Sleeping Beauty” and “Dora The Explorer: The Halloween Cat.”

A 5-year-old in Charlton, Massachusetts was visited by police in 2012 as well, demanding to know why she hadn’t returned several books to the local library, causing the young girl to burst into tears.

A woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico was arrested in front of her five small children last year after police ran her name and saw a warrant from an overdue Twilight book. The woman spent a night in jail over the $36 late fee.




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About Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is an investigative journalist covering foreign policy, information security and digital surveillance. His reports have been cited by sites such as the New York Times, Computerworld, International Business Times and the Drudge Report. How to contact Mikael securely:

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  1. Great reporting guys thank you

  2. So you arrest a man who owed money to a library…at the most the book costs $20. Sadly the library will charge him until the cost is up to $5000. Insane!!.

    Now because the man owed money to a library,,,your going to waste more money putting him into cell.

    How back assward are we???

  3. He could be arrested for “theft” because of the non-return of the book. It is not legal in this country to arrest him for unpaid fees, i.e., Debtor’s prison.

  4. This is sad story. Library should use for books and we must use it positively.

  5. Alot of people for the patron here…but guess what, return the library books by the date stamped in the book like you were taught in elementary school and there wouldn't be any problems.

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  10. The other side of that is people that go to our library and can’t have these materials, they’re put out too.

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