Bootleg ring broken up

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 28, 2005

At a bootlegger’s price, Sandra Bullock isn’t so congenial.

Especially when you consider that a knock-off version of the big-screen flick is among a stash of counterfeit DVDs and CDs that landed Franklin resident Dwayne S. Goodman, 44, in jail.

On a break from testifying in a trial last week, Suffolk Police Detective Gary Myrick noticed Goodman selling merchandise from his silver BMW in the 800 block of West Washington Street.

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According to police reports, Goodman was attempting to sell more than 200 DVDs and assorted clothing from the vehicle on Friday. A search warrant from Goodman’s residence in the 100 block of Broad Street turned up more than 600 items, which are now in police custody.

An evidence room table at police headquarters was cluttered with boxes of DVDs and fake athletic gear, including jerseys and shoes, including &uot;Timberlands.&uot;

Goodman has been charged with felony possession of counterfeit merchandise.

In an unrelated incident last Thursday, police observed a man selling items from his car in the 6500 block of Town Point Road in north Suffolk. This time, 20 items, mostly clothing, athletic shoes and a concealed weapon were seized.

In February, police stumbled upon counterfeit merchandise when a car was stopped in the 600 block of East Washington Street. Some 93 DVDs, 30 CDs and clothing were removed from the vehicle.

Police are promising to remain vigilant in tracking down more offenders, which are becoming increasing visible across the country. The motion picture industry calculates that billions of dollars are lost annually to bootleggers, many of whom get their DVD stock in New York for as little as $5 per picture and then turning them over to customers for $11.

Myrick said bootlegging DVDs and CDs has become a &uot;lucrative&uot; industry, and added that it’s not only illegal to sell the merchandise, but possession is a crime as well, a Class I Misdemeanor. The central clue that DVDS and CDs are not authentic is the lack of a manufacturer’s address on the case labels. Also, knock off CDs also tend to have the rainbow effect when examined closely.

&uot;This is illegal…they don’t pay taxes, and they are winning all the way around,&uot; said Myrick. As for the consumers who help the perpetrators get away with piracy, &uot;if you purchase a movie you know was just released and pay $11 for it, that should raise some questions.&uot;

In the police evidence room Wednesday, investigators played the tape of Miss Congeniality II, which showed a fuzzy depiction of the film, obviously videotaped in a theater with occasional sound bites of laughter.

Police pointed out that it’s not against the law to sell legitimate merchandise from a vehicle, as long as a peddler’s license is obtained from the city.

The investigation into the case is ongoing.