Thursday, February 12, 2004

Mother's trove of videos claimed to be libraries'

By Sharon Coolidge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - Police Sgt. Terence Burroughs was shocked when he walked into Melissa Waybright's home.

He saw hundreds of videos and DVDs stacked on shelves, the floor and in boxes.

"If it's a kids' movie," Burroughs said, "it was in that house."

The 24-year-old mother of three is accused of stealing between $7,000 and $10,000 worth of movies from libraries throughout Clermont and Brown counties. Authorities say Waybright signed up for library cards under several different names.

Burroughs said she took them for her and her three young children's personal use. "She wanted videos without paying for them," said Assistant Clermont County Prosecutor Tony Brock.

Waybright was indicted Jan. 21 on charges of receiving stolen property, grand theft and two counts of forgery. A court hearing Wednesday was continued. Waybright could not be reached for comment.

A disgruntled family member reported the thefts; a library officer then called police.

"When they ran the bar codes they came up with seven names," Burroughs said. "Basically these people do not exist.''

Nancy Ehas, co-director of Clermont County libraries, said it's fairly easy to get a library card - identification must be shown, but it doesn't have to have a picture on it.

The movies recovered from Waybright's home have been returned, Brock said.

"Every once in awhile, there is a theft from a library or a movie rental place," Brock said. "But, nothing near this magnitude."


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