Back when video rental stores were still in vogue, they often hired some exceptionally scary people to hunt down missing tapes. When you had an overdue tape, be it from a chain like Blockbuster or a small-time local shop, the calls started coming in and coming in fierce. One may think that, with the obsolescence of the physical media rental industry, this wouldn’t be as much of a concern anymore. But the lesson remains as true today as it was back then: don’t cross the video rental place.
Caron McBride, a Texas resident who used to live in Oklahoma, was filing to have her name changed in Oklahoma county after a marriage. It was at this time, however, that McBride discovered that she had a criminal charge on her record for felony embezzlement. What vital item could she have allegedly stolen to warrant such a serious charge? A VHS copy of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
“I thought I was gonna have a heart attack,” McBride told local news station KOKH-TV. “They told me that I had an issue in Oklahoma and this was the reference number for me to call this number and I did. Meanwhile, I’m a wanted felon.”
A Texas woman was shocked to learn there was a 21-year-old warrant for her arrest in Oklahoma for failing to return a video she rented — in 1999. https://t.co/BK7rFeaKBA
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 25, 2021
According to the charge, which was filed in 2000, McBride allegedly rented the tape in 1999 from a small video store called Movie Place, which went out of business back in 2008. When the tape wasn’t returned, the store charged her with felony embezzlement of rented property. McBride has no recollection of renting the tape herself, but she has a sneaking suspicion that an old roommate rented it under her name.
“He had two kids, daughters that were 8, 10 or 11 years old, and 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.”
McBride has been suddenly let go from several jobs she’s worked over the last two decades, which she has realized may have been related to this bizarre felony charge. After she shared her story on TV, the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges, though she’ll still need to get the case expunged herself to clear her record. This, boys and girls, is why you don’t cross the video rental place; because they will always get you back. Or if not you, then someone adjacent to you.