Authorities seize 1,500 pirated DVDs

ASHDOWN, Ark.-With help from the motion picture industry, police here have cracked down on bootleg DVDs and have arrested a woman for copying and selling them.

Ashdown police charged Bettie Davis, 53, of 640 N. Taylor St., with three counts of possession and sale of unauthorized copies of recordings. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor with a potential maximum sentence of a $1,000 fine or one year in the county jail. The fines can be enhanced to double the maximum sentence for violating the federal copyright laws, said Ashdown Police Chief Ben McCraw.

On April 29, the Ashdown Police served the search warrant issued by District Court Judge John Finley. Officers seized 1,500 pirated DVD movies and the electronic equipment used to copy them.

The investigation started after an owner of an Ashdown video rental store contacted the police about a woman selling DVDs from her home. The report said the business owner asked for help from the police since the “illegal business was affecting her legal business.”

The Ashdown Police suggested the business owner contact the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to report the alleged copying and selling of the DVDs.

The MPAA sent private investigator John Sutton of Little Rock to investigate. Sutton received information that Davis was allegedly selling DVDs from a residence in the 600 block of North Taylor Street in Ashdown.

Sutton purchased 11 copies of “pirated” DVD movies for $50 from Davis, according to a police report.

After the purchase, Sutton contacted the Ashdown police asking detectives for help with the case.

On April 28, Detective Gary Gregory and Criminal Investigation Department Officer Jason Curtis watched Sutton and the informant enter the Davis residence. The investigator and informant purchased an additional 11 pirated DVD movies.

After the purchase was made, Curtis asked for a search and seizure warrant for the house.

Davis was issued three citations for the misdemeanor charges and ordered to appear in District Court in Ashdown to enter a plea. No court date was set.