Woman Thrown In Jail For 10-Year Overdue VHS Rental

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South Carolina resident Kayla Finley, 27, spent a night in jail–all because she forgot to return a video back in 2005.

The video, which was a VHS (that’s how long ago this was), was of the movie, “Monster-in-Law” starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda. It was rented from a local video store that’s now out of business.

Finley was visiting the local sheriff’s office to report a crime when they discovered an outstanding arrest warrant, filed years ago when the store owner wanted to follow up one where his copy of “Monster in Law” was.

For her part, Finley said it was just an accident–and that she hadn’t received certified letters demanding she turn herself in, because she had moved out of state with her husband.

“I’m not criminal,” she wrote to the Fox Carolina News page on Facebook, “but Pickens County Sheriff’s Office sure made me fee like I was.”

“If I had [known about the arrest warrant],” she continued, “it would have been taken care of immediately… This is a bogus charge and everyone knows it.”

Finely spent the night in jail because her bond hearing couldn’t be heard until the next morning. A judge release her on $2,000 bail. For a late VHS rental.

The Twittersphere erupted with jokes immediately after Finley’s store broke.

“Pretty sure my family never returned Ace Ventura,” said one Twitter user.

“We have no crime here in South Carolina, I guess,” said another.

“And now you know why Barney Fife only carried one bullet!”

And another, mock-quoting Finley: “‘Oh God, I’m so embarrassed. Now everyone’s going to know I rented Mother In Law!'”

Finley faced a $1,000 fine and a full month behind bars if convicted of “failure to return a rented video.”

That specific law was striken from the books back in 2010, but due to South Carolina law, larceny–the legal term for stealing–has no distinction based on value. Finley failing to return a $15 VHS tape would be treated the same if she had stolen a necklace worth thousands of dollars, for instance.

Luckily for Finley, however, since the owner of the now-shuttered video store declined to press. After spending the night in jail, she’s free to go.

Adam Campbell
Adam Campbell is a former military brat, who grew up all over the world--but considers Milwaukee, WI, where he and his wife currently live, to be his home. He enjoys reporting the real news, without bias.