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Woman Arrested for Failing to Return Videos

October 6, 1995

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. (AP) _ A 4-year-old girl cried, ``Don’t take my mommy to jail!″ as deputies arrested her mother for failing to return three videotapes and a video game she had rented.

Denise Lawrence, 24, was taken to a magistrate’s office Thursday, released without bail and told to appear in court in a week.

She was charged with failure to return rental property and could get up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Mrs. Lawrence said she forgot about ``Dumb and Dumber,″ ``Black Beauty,″ ``Rescuers Down Under″ and the video game ``Dinosaurs for Hire.″ She rented them from the Video Club on July 12.

``I know I should have returned them, but I’ve got four children and the tapes just slipped my mind. They were down in the basement, and I don’t go to the basement that often,″ Mrs. Lawrence said.

When Sgt. Allen Cheeks showed up at her home, Mrs. Lawrence was with her children, ages 1, 2, 4 and 5. Daughter Ashley pleaded with the officer.

Cheeks agreed to let Mrs. Lawrence call her husband, Clay, to come home to take care of the children.

Under store policy, customers who are late returning videos are notified by phone and letter. If the letter produces no response, the store files a complaint with the sheriff’s office.

Manager William Grinnan wouldn’t discuss the case. Mrs. Lawrence insisted she never got a letter or a call.

``They should have given her some consideration,″ Clay Lawrence said. ``It’s a little ridiculous.″

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