Most of us miss the wide availability of neighborhood video stores -- nothing can replace the pleasure of browsing through hundreds or thousands of obscure videotapes and DVDs and chatting with fellow movie lovers in person -- though it's safe to say that no one misses having to pay late fees, or worse, having to pay the replacement price for a lost videocassette or DVD.
But imagine having to spend the night in jail because you failed to return a movie.
In 2005, 18-year-old Kayla Michelle Finley rented Monster-in-Law, a comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda, from Dalton Video in Pickens, South Carolina, a small town of about 3,000 people. Allegedly, she did not return the movie within 72 hours, so the store owner filed a complaint, and a warrant was issued for petty larceny.
Late last week, Finley says she visited local law enforcement authorities to report a crime, but she herself was arrested on the outstanding warrant and spent the night in jail. She was released in the morning on $2,000 bond. The authorities claim she ignored a certified warrant that was sent to her. For her part, Finley, now 27, denies receiving the warrant and has vowed to fight the charge.
Reportedly, such charges were more common in the heyday of the video-store era. Losses could quickly pile up for the small businessmen who owned the stores if the products they purchased walked out of the store and never came back. And in a small town like Pickens, that revenue might never be replaced.
Here's the kicker: The video store has since closed. So, here's a reminder, if you're lucky enough to live near a surviving video store: Be kind, rewind... and always return the movie, or you might end up in jail.
FOX Carolina 21
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