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Library sends police to collect overdue books from 5-year-old

7:35 AM, Jan 3, 2012   |    comments
Shannon Benoit reads a book to daughter Haile
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CHARLTON, MA (CBS Boston) - A Charlton mom says her local library crossed the line when they sent police to collect her daughter's overdue library books.

Her mom says the 5-year-old girl was so afraid that she burst into tears.

Charlton Police Sergeant Dan Dowd stopped by the home of Shannon Benoit to let her know that her daughter had two books several months overdue which needed to be returned or paid for.

"I thought it was way overboard," says Benoit. "I closed my door, I looked at my daughter and she started crying."

Hailey asked her mom if the police were going to arrest her. Hailey says, "I was scared."

They found and returned the books, but Hailey's mom argues that sending a cop to their house was like pounding a ten penny nail with a sledge hammer.

Even Sgt. Dowd admits he wasn't real keen on it.

"Nobody wanted to, on this end to get involved in it," says Sgt. Dowd. "But the library contacted us, and the chief delegated, and apparently I was one of the low men on the totem pole."

But state law does outline a misdemeanor for such things, and police thought a friendly reminder might make a better impression and get better results than a cold summons to court.

The Benoit's insist they never got any warnings.

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