> The police in Canada would not arrest you for an un-returned video no matter how long you had it because it is an obvious civil matter to be resolved by small claims court
IANAL but you can read about how that's not what happened.
> Yes, you have broken the law, and the owner of the video can take you to court, but you can't go to jail unless you fail to return the video after losing your small claims case, and then you would be going to jail for contempt, not theft.
There was no small claims case, because there was no appearance in a filed report of theft. Maybe it would have been thrown out for improper venue (meaning go to small claims), but more likely the fees associated with non-returning for 2 years passes the $500 (or whatever maximum for that area) that Small Claims can arbitrate. The warrant was likely for failure to appear and summary judgement of guilt. There isn't enough information here to say definitively, but deduction gives a couple possibilities. Warrants are issued to ensure other localities can arrest and hold regardless of charges (which may not even apply in the locality they are apprehended). That's part of the purpose of a warrant. It says "this person is wanted for a crime somewhere else, bring them back to us". Warrants sometimes describe what the crime was, but often do not because it can be complicated (failure to appear as a subpoena'd witness to testify about a civil case against a public defender being at a strip club instead of in court for a 3rd party contempt case, etc.)...Where the warrant applies is always present.
You seem amusingly critical for not recognizing the basic flow of events or even understanding the subtleties of the US justice system. Nobody spent tax money to chase her down, she ended up in a police station and was nabbed for a warrant. Nothing in the video cassette case seemed improper.