Concord man accused of not returning VHS rental 14 years later

by: Blake Hanson Updated:


CONCORD, N.C. - A Concord man was arrested for failing to return a 2002 VHS rental movie, “Freddy Got Fingered.”

James Meyers showed Channel 9 the arrest warrant Wednesday. It shows Meyers is charged with failure to return rental property, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200. The charged had not been dismissed as of Wednesday afternoon.

The story of Meyers' arrest has since gone viral after Eyewitness News broke the news late Wednesday night.

The rental store in Salisbury, J&J’s Video, has since closed, but Meyers was still given an April 27 court date for failing to return the gross-out comedy about a cartoonist returning home to live with his parents.

(Pictured: James Meyers)

Meyers said he was driving his daughter to school on Concord Parkway Tuesday morning when a Concord police officer pulled him over for a tail-light that was out.

Meyers said the officer ran his license and approximately 25 minutes later asked him to step out of the vehicle.

“The officer said, 'I don’t know how to tell you this but there’s a warrant out for your arrest from 2002. Apparently you rented the movie "Freddy Got Fingered" and never returned it.' I thought he was joking,” said Meyers.

Meyers said the officers were very polite and professional. They let him take his daughter to school and go to work as long as he promised to turn himself into the police department later that day. 

Concord officials said the warrant was active in NCAWARE, which is North Carolina's electronic warrant repository. It was signed on Feb. 28, 2002 by J&J Video and was a vaild Rowan County arrest warrant for failing to return rental property.

Meyers said he thought everything would get straightened out at the department. He was surprised when officers arrested him and then took him to the magistrate’s office.

“For the first time I got put in handcuffs,” said Meyers. 

Officers are required by police to handcuff anyone in custody before entering the secured area inside the magistrate's office, Concord officials told Channel 9.

Meyers said he vaguely remembers renting the particular movie from the family-owned video store in Kannapolis. 

The 2001 movie “Freddy Got Fingered” starred comedian Tom Green.

On Wednesday night, Meyers received a call from Green, the writer-director-star of “Freddy” who reached out after Meyers’ friend shared the story with him on Twitter, according to The New York Daily News.

Green, who is currently on a stand-up comedy tour in Australia, told the Daily News that he is happy to support fans of his film, which was the subject of terrible reviews and currently has an 11 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In the video below, Green talked about the incident on the Australian TV show "The Project."
"I think it's sort of an example of how bureaucracy can get out of control," Green said during the program.
(Scroll to 2:40 mark it the video)
Tom Green

We chat to Tom Green about social media, koalas & the man who was arrested for not returning a VHS of 'Freddy Got Fingered'! #TheProjectTV

Posted by The Project on Thursday, March 24, 2016

The 44-year-old comedian told the Daily News that he could put in a good word with the court or even help out financially as long as the outcome doesn’t involve an outrageous sum.

“If it’s 200 bucks of course I’ll pay it for him, just for the principle of the thing,” Green said.

Meyers told Channel 9 he can only hope the charges get dismissed.

He added that he had been pulled over since the warrant was issued in 2002, but had never heard about the lost tape.

“They’re not focusing on the crimes I think they should be focusing on,” Meyers said. “That hour the cops sat out there with me, the hour and a half I was down in the magistrate's office, could have been spent somewhere else.”

(Tom Green in "Freddy Got Fingered." Photo: Getty)

It's not the first time such a case has happened.

In 2014, a woman was arrested in Pickens County, South Carolina, for failing to return a rental. The charges were later dropped.

"This would be a case that you would dismiss," said John Snyder, an attorney and former District Attorney for Union County.

Snyder said officers were simply following the law by making the arrest.

"Officers can't not arrest them and that's the issue," Snyder said.

Snyder said people ought to check and see if there is a warrant out for them, just like a credit check.

Eyewitness News spoke with the Rowan County District Attorney but she was unable to comment because it is a pending case.

Eyewitness News also tried contacting the person who filed for the warrant on behalf of the now-closed business but was unsuccessful. 

Read our follow-up coverage on this viral story: