Woman Faces 20 Years of Felony Charges, Criminal Record for Overdue Video Rental
A Texas woman recently learned that she had a 21-year-old outstanding warrant for her arrest, a felony embezzlement charge, and had likely been passed up for jobs over two decades – all due to a Sabrina the Teenage Witch video tape.
While video rental stores have been largely rendered extinct by changing technology and the rise of streaming services, 52-year-old, Caron McBride has long been haunted by the ghost of entertainment’s past.
The 52-year-old recently learned that she had run afoul of the law in neighboring Oklahoma when she tried to get her name changed on her drivers’ license following her marriage.
She then learned of the charges against her for renting the tape, which she has no recollection of ever watching.
Either way, her name was used to rent the VHS tape at Movie Palace in Norman, Oklahoma, on Valentine’s Day in 1999.
Following the duration of the 10-day rental period, the tape wasn’t returned – and was referred to law enforcement.
Prosecutors argued that McBride had “wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously embezzled” the tape, which was valued at a stunning $58.59.
And while the story faded into the annals of shuttered video rental venues in 2008, her criminal record continued to persist.
Upon learning of her felony embezzlement charge, she called the Cleveland County District Attorney’s office in Oklahoma and learned about the charge “over the VHS tape.”
“I had to make her repeat it because I thought, this is insane,” she said. “This girl is kidding me, right? She wasn’t kidding.”
“I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” she told KOKH.
She’s pretty sure that the “felony embezzlement” charges likely narrowed her job prospects and led to her rejection by prospective employers in at least five cases over the past 20-plus years.
“It’s a serious issue. It’s caused me and my family a lot of heartache financially because of the positions I’ve lost because of those two words. Something’s got to give,” she told KFOR.
On April 21, prosecutors finally dropped the charges citing the “best interest of justice,” but McBride must still have her record expunged.
McBride believes that the man she lived with at the time may have rented the video for his two young daughters.
“I’m thinking he went and got it and didn’t take it back or something,” she said. “I have never watched that show in my entire life — just not my cup of tea.”
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