Pirates have made a pop-culture comeback in recent years, thanks in great part to Disney’s "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. But few would think that while watching one of those films in a dark South Barrington theater, there could have been a real pirate right in the next seat.
The Motion Picture Association of America honored the South Barrington police yesterday for their efforts to stop a man they believe is one of the top movie pirates in the world, the Daily Herald reported.
And when authorities went to Arellano’s home, they found 44,000 DVDs and CDs, along with duplicating equipment. He was subsequently charged with computer fraud, online sale of stolen goods, criminal use of a motion picture facility, and unlawful use of a recording device.
Investigators believe Arellano not only recorded the movies with a video camera, but also created copies and sold them as digital downloads and hard copies.
The MPAA knew that a large number of pirated movies were coming from the AMC in South Barrington, thanks to watermarking technology used in the digital film prints that theaters display.
Nine officers were honored by the MPAA for their efforts to catch Arellano. MPAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaltman called the arrest significant progress in their anti-piracy efforts.