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article imageColorado: Overdue DVD leads to arrest of teen

By Elliot Meszaros     Mar 10, 2010 in Crime
Littleton - Around a month ago a 19-year-old Colorado teenager was pulled over at a traffic stop by police and arrested because of an outstanding warrant. The teen was accused of having an overdue DVD from his local library.
Aaron Henson had borrowed the 2004 martial arts film House of Flying Daggers and had held onto it way past its overdue date. The teen claims that during a move last year he had packed it away inadvertently.
The Bemis library had a policy that any items over $30 in value that are not returned will be followed up and the perpetrator charged with theft; the film just surpassed this at $31.45. According to the library they had sent a number of notices and two summons for the teen to attend court before police arrested him. The absence of the teen at the second court summon caused the warrant for his arrest to be initiated. He "was arrested for a failure to appear warrant out of the City of Littleton,” said Allen Henson, Aaron’s father.
The family and teen deny having received any notices or summons and say that the notices were sent to the family's previous address before they moved, using the "return to sender" stamp on some of the notices as proof. The family have called the debacle a "clear violation of his right to due process."
Around $7,000 was the estimated total cost of the losses for that particular library in lost merchandise in 2009 alone, according to the city of Littleton
"I understand the library's need to get their property back, but it is bothersome to me that they would go to such extremes", stated Allen, who is a local fire-fighter in Littleton, "The city attorney told me, they weren’t concerned about due process. What they were concerned about was their DVD.”
In the latest development, the Littleton city attorney decided to review the library's policies and has changed the cost threshold for overdue DVD's. The attorney contacted the teen's family and they have been spared the hundreds of dollars worth of costs relating to him being apprehended; the teen's arrest is also being erased from his record.
The mayor of Littleton, Doug Clark, told 7NEWS that the city was going to change its policy as a result of the Henson family’s story: "We're not going to arrest people who don't return $30 DVDs."
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