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Woman Arrested For Not Returning Movie Rented In 2005

The first thing we thought of when we heard this news was the Seinfeld episode known as "The Library" — the one where Jerry's tracked down by Lt. Bookman after 20 years for not returning a copy of Tropic of Cancer.

But this isn't a plot from a TV sitcom. This apparently really did happen last week in Pickens County, S.C.:

"A Pickens woman has been arrested and charged after deputies said she failed to return a Jennifer Lopez movie she rented in 2005," Fox Carolina reports.

Kayla Michelle Finley, 27, ended up spending a night at the county jail before posting a $2,000 personal recognizance bond and being released.

According to CNN, the movie at the center of this story is Monster-In-Law, starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda. It was rented from a video store, Dalton Videos, that is now out of business.

Authorities say a warrant was issued years ago for Finley's arrest after the video wasn't returned within 72 hours of being rented. They also say she was sent certified letters about the alleged crime.

Here's where what at first sounded funny turns more serious. The story has led to lots of joking on social media — some of it not too nice — at Finley's expense. A woman who identifies herself as Finley has gone on the Facebook page of Fox Carolina News to defend herself and call out those who've had less than kind things to say.

"I didn't rent a movie with the intent of keeping it," she writes. She moved out of the state "and honestly forgot all about it just as I'm sure some of you haters have done. I'm no criminal, but Pickens County sheriffs office sure made me feel like I was."

What's more, the woman writes that the old warrant only came up because she had gone to the police station to report a possible crime and authorities ran a check on her.

Talk about a dramatic turn of events.

And now her mug shot is all over the Web.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.