A Texan woman can’t remember renting a VHS tape 22 years ago – let alone not returning it – and closing the place where she rented it more than a decade ago. But the unreturned tape resulted in her being charged with a crime.
Although the case was dismissed and thrown out on Wednesday, Caron McBride is reviewing legal options.
“It hurt me and my family a lot,” she told USA TODAY. “It just makes me angry the more I think about it.”
McBride, 52, was charged with misappropriating rental properties in March 2000 in Oklahoma, where she previously lived, more than a year after the Sabrina the Teenage Witch tape was returned, court records show.
She believes her then boyfriend, who had two young daughters, hired the tape on her behalf.
“He had to have,” said McBride. “I know I didn’t.”
She added, “I’ve never seen an episode or a movie before.”
McBride didn’t find out about the pending warrant for her arrest until she tried to change her name on her license after she got married and moved to Texas from Oklahoma.
When she emailed the Automotive Department in November to schedule an appointment under COVID-19 protocols, she received a response on April 16 that she had to fix a problem in Oklahoma first. In the email response, she received a case number and the courthouse phone number.
“I called and the lady … looked up the reference number and told me it was embezzlement,” McBride said. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
She suspects that the crime on her file has cost her job opportunities.
“I’ve worked two jobs, sometimes three,” said McBride. “I struggled to make ends meet when I knew I could make really good money.”
She is now looking for a lawyer in Oklahoma, but some have refused to take her case.
McBride said lawyers told her that after her story was broadcast on local news channels, she was contacted by people who went to jail for similar situations.
While it is rare for a warrant to be pending for more than two decades, Ed Blau of the Oklahoma City-based law firm Blau told News9, “There was no way for her to know she had that warrant.”
“A prosecutor is bringing charges against someone over something serious (which will prosecute) in order to find that person,” he said is being taken into custody. “
In 2016, a North Carolina man was stopped for a broken brake light when he was told he had a pending arrest warrant for not returning a VHS tape of Freddy Got Fingered 15 years earlier, according to Fortune. He was charged with a misdemeanor.
Similarly, a South Carolina woman was in the sheriff’s office for other affairs in 2014 when she found out she had an arrest warrant for an unreturned tape of “Monster-In-Law” from 2005, CNN reported. She had to spend the night in jail because her hearing could not take place until the next morning, and she was released on a $ 2,000 bond.
McBride said she was glad she received the charges.
“I was lucky … I was not run over and jailed and arrested for a crime,” she said. “Some of them weren’t.”