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‘Pirate’ arrested

AHOSKIE – An alleged “pirate” was nabbed here Monday.

Jason Jerome Barnes, 29 of 1446 Hwy. 461, Ahoskie, was arrested on felony possession counts of counterfeit video (DVD’s) and sound recordings (CD’s). He was also charged with simple possession of marijuana and failure to stop for a stop sign, bringing his total bond to $17,000.

The arrest on the felony charges came after Barnes simply failed to stop for a stop sign in the Hayes/Mitchell Street area of town. There, Ahoskie Police officials, Sgt. Andres Snape, Captain Michele Garrett and Officer T. Ruffin, were out on foot patrol investigating a complaint of loud music and disorderly conduct.

According to Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh, Sgt. Snape observed a vehicle that failed to stop at a stop sign. That vehicle then turned in the direction where Sgt. Snape was on foot patrol.

“Sgt. Snape stood at the edge of the street where he signaled for the driver of that vehicle to stop,” Fitzhugh said. “Upon reaching the driver’s side window, Sgt. Snape observed, in plain view, a clear container with what appeared to be numerous CD’s. Thinking that to be odd, Sgt. Snape inquired as to the number of CD’s and DVD’s, to which the driver (Barnes) said they were for his personal use.”

Fitzhugh reported that as Sgt. Snape continued to press Barnes for information concerning the CD’s/DVD’s, the officer noticed that several of the DVD’s were of the same movie (with the title handwritten on the DVD. He also noticed what appeared to be stickers/faces on some of the CD’s, none consistent with what a consumer would find when shopping for the same in a retail store.

“We have been receiving some telephone calls here at the station concerning individuals selling pirated CD’s and DVD’s,” Fitzhugh said.

Further researching the law, Fitzhugh discovered it was a felony to possess more than 100 CD’s/DVD’s that are not properly marked for retail sale.

At the same time Sgt. Snape was approaching the vehicle, he took note of the driver apparently reaching into his pocket and placing something in the front seat area. Subsequent to Barnes’ arrest on the felony charges, Sgt. Snape searched the vehicle, finding a plastic baggie between front seats containing what was later confirmed as marijuana.

“Our officers were originally answering one complaint, but used their training to be observant at all times of the things happening around you,” Fitzhugh said. “Their professionalism resulted in a felony arrest.”

The chief closed by issuing a warning to those who choose to sell pirated CD’s/DVD’s.

“We will not tolerate anyone selling counterfeit movies or music CD’s in the town of Ahoskie,” he said. “We will continue to investigate those who wish to do the same and charge them accordingly.”

Barnes made his first court appearance on Tuesday.