After a nearly monthlong investigation of a video store rumored to be selling cigarettes to minors, police said Friday that they had uncovered more than a tobacco-vending violation.
“We found more than 500 pirated videotapes the store was selling,” said Glendale Police Sgt. Rick Young.
“And the surprising thing about them is that the tapes were of movies that were just released and aren’t on videotape yet.”
Among the pirated titles allegedly found at the store, Video Pacific, and at the homes of the owner and his one employee, authorities recovered copies of “Titanic,” “Mad City,” “The Replacement Killers,” and “The Postman.”
Store owner Seroj Khachadourian, 34, and employee Hrazoa Avanessians, 36, both of Glendale, were arrested Thursday on one felony count each of copyright infringement, authorities announced Friday. More counts may be added before their arraignment, scheduled for next week, police said.
“We began there because of a couple complaints they were selling cigarettes to minors,” said Officer Jerry Uebel. “And after we began looking around, one thing led to another and we were quite surprised with what we found.”
Investigators have not yet determined the source of the original videotapes from which, authorities said, copies were made on machines under the counter of the store.
Law enforcement officials and others said that some video pirates have been known to bring cameras to theaters to record movies directly off the screen, a process once lampooned on “Seinfeld.”