Now that everybody can stream practically any movie in existence on their phones, many forget the days of going into a video store to rent a movie. In 2014, Lonnie Perry of Tulsa, Oklahoma rented a DVD copy of Seth MacFarlane's buddy comedy Ted on his way home from work and never returned it after some unfortunate circumstances. As it turns out, those circumstances could get a lot worse if Perry doesn't pay off the $218.07 that the Tulsa District Attorney is demanding. If not paid, he could possibly face jail time.
Lonnie Perry says that he rented Ted back in 2014 for around $5 to $6 and soon became homeless. While moving out of his place, he threw the DVD into a box and forgot about it until now. Perry says that he received a call from the Tulsa District Attorney along with a letter that demanded that he pay a $218.07 fine or face jail time because the Ted DVD is now considered stolen property. Out of the $218.07, $19 will cover the charge of the physical DVD while $25 will cover lost profits for the store. The remaining $174 goes to the DA, in accordance with a state statute in reference to unreturned movies.
Lonnie Perry says that he will pay up the $218.07 to stay out of jail, but hopes that the case will get thrown out. He's hoping for forgiveness or leniency in the matter that he believes to be unfair. The jail time does seem a bit on the extreme side, which Perry pointed out in a recent interview. He explains.
"I understand the video place having to do what they've got to do, but there's other means of trying to get a hold of people without throwing a warrant."
Forgetting to get a movie back on time still exists today in the world of Redbox, but it was pretty big deal back in the day when video stores were flourishing. Late fees were an excellent source of revenue for the stores because patrons would often get sidetracked or completely forget to return a movie, which could double and triple the cost of the original rental by the end. In the days before DVDs, video stores would even charge rewind fees, which was also a good source of profits. However, jail time for a late or unreturned movie is a bit excessive.
Lonnie Perry will probably end up paying over $200 for a copy of Ted, which is probably more than anyone has paid to see the 2012 buddy comedy. It will be interesting to see if Perry actually ends up having to pay the entire fine or if he will be able to settle with the store for the $50 instead. It seems pretty ridiculous that the DA would even have to get involved in the first place. You can read more about the unreturned Ted DVD over at KRON4 News.