A five-year-old girl from Charlton, Mass. burst into tears after a local library sent Police Sergeant Dan Dowd to her house to retrieve the child's two overdue library books, CBS Boston reported.
"I thought it was way overboard," the girl's mother, Shannon Benoit, said. "I closed my door, I looked at my daughter and she started crying." According to the report, Shannon's daughter thought Dowd was going to arrest her.
Sergeant Dowd told the station that, although long-overdue books are a misdemeanor, he didn't want to go to the girl's house.
"Nobody wanted to, on this end to get involved in it," Sgt. Dowd told CBS Boston. "But the library contacted us, and the chief delegated, and apparently I was one of the low men on the totem pole."
The Benoit's books had been overdue for "several months," but were quickly found and returned at the police officer's request.
It turns out the little girl's fears of being arrested weren't completely unfounded.
Back in September, Christopher Anspach was sentenced to 10 days in jail for failing to return his overdue library books after several months and multiple overdue notices.
"After several attempts had been made to contact Anspach by phone and certified mail with no luck, Newton Library contacted the Newton City Attorney and Newton Police Dept," a complaint obtained by The Smoking Gun stated.
In a more extreme case of book borrowing delinquency, an Australian library exercised leniency after a first-edition copy of Charles Darwin's "Insectivorous Plants" was returned 122 years late.
Camden Council Library Services Manager Kathryn Baget-Juleff estimated the overdue fee would be around $37,000 today, after accounting for inflation.
UPDATE:10:22am -- An article published today by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette clarifies that it wasn't 5-year-old Hailey's children's books that warranted the police visit, but a $100 audio book that her father had borrowed, and that had been overdue since April. According to the article, 13 other families in the area were also visited by police, who collectively had in their possession a total of $2,634 in overdue library materials.