Secretly filming a movie at the theater was funny when Jerry Seinfeld reluctantly did it in a famous episode of his TV show. "We're talkin' federal crime here," he protested.
Yes, we are.
A local man has found that out — if he didn't know already.
Brian Ridley, 38, of Butler, was arraigned today in U.S. District Court on charges of conspiracy and illegally recording motion pictures in a theater as part of a bootlegging ring.
A magistrate judge released him pending trial.
In an indictment handed up last month, a grand jury said that on July 22, 2014, Mr. Ridley recorded the audio for "Sex Tape," a Cameron Diaz film, at the Dependable Drive-In in Moon. He is also accused of trying to record two other films, "Planes: Fire and Rescue" and "The Purge."
Prosecutors said that between the summer of 2011 and the date of his arrest, Mr. Ridley was part of a group making bootlegs.
One team of conspirators visited indoor theaters and used camcorders to videotape the films.
A second group visited drive-ins and recorded the soundtracks.
They then sent the audio and visual files over the internet to another cohort, who synced them and placed the bootlegged films online for others to download.
As part of the case against Mr. Ridley, the U.S. attorney's office seized three MP3 recorders from Mr. Ridley and has filed forfeiture action to keep them.