Karen Lindsay Was Overdue at the Library; So They Threw the Book at Her

updated 11/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

The folks who live in Norcross, Ga., should be sleeping a little easier these nights. Karen Lindsay's crimes have caught up with her. She has been arrested. She has done time. In fact, it's a safe bet that Karen Lindsay, 48, widow and grandmother, will never, ever, have an overdue library book to her name again. Lindsay's encounter with the law began at 10:30 on the night of Oct. 27. She was asleep when a policeman knocked on her door and presented her with an arrest warrant. The charge was spelled out in these chilling words: FAILURE TO RETURN LIBRARY BOOKS.

Lindsay, an office worker, had checked out seven books a year and a half before. She says that she returned them; the library disagrees. So officials went looking for Lindsay—and for their books. Lindsay, however, had moved twice and says she didn't receive any notices, including one telling her of her arraignment. Her failure to show up triggered the warrant.

Lindsay was taken to the county jail, where she was booked, photographed and put in a cell with 50 other female prisoners. One detainee, being held on auto-theft charges, asked Lindsay what she was in for. "I told her," reports Lindsay, "and she just looked at me and said, 'Sure.' "

The diminutive Lindsay spent the night in jail and was released the next day on her own recognizance. At a court hearing two days later, she pleaded not guilty, then called the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The publicity caused a furor. A radio station paid her $149.65 fine. An Atlanta lawyer volunteered to take her case, and David Letterman tried to book her. She turned David down, she says, "because very strange people appear on Letterman."

Finally, on Nov. 10, all charges were dropped. And so Karen Lindsay is back on the street...but she'll probably stay away from the library.

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