NEWS- Not too sharpie: FBI raids pirates of the Charlottesvillians

The Pic and Pac corner market got a visit from the FBI July 2. Agents seized nearly 2,000 bootlegged CDs and DVDs from four stores.

"It was pretty obvious someone went and burned those babies," says a neighbor, who asked not to be identified.

When the FBI raided the convenience market at 507 Stewart Street at the corner of Meade Avenue, bootleg CDs and DVDs were not all they found. The search warrant also lists two pages of counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, a Class 6 felony.

FBI agents pulled up in an unmarked Ford Explorer July 2, chained the doors, turned off the "open" sign and then started hauling out boxes of the alleged counterfeit goods, according to a neighbor who witnessed the raid. The FBI inventory lists over 1,900 DVDs and CDs, and names Bhagubhai Patel on the inventory.

Federal agents seized items at four stores Patel owns. The one location in the warrant– the Pic and Pac– led to the others, says FBI spokeswoman Dee Rybiski. At press time, no charges had been filed. "I would expect they would be at some point," says Rybiski.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Gould declined to comment on the case.

Trafficking in counterfeit goods is a felony that carries a maximum $2 million fine and 10-year sentence, depending on the value of the merchandise. Bootlegged cigarette tax stamps could bring both federal and state charges.

Not all the CDs and DVDs were confiscated at the Pic and Pac.

The pirated CDs and DVDs were pretty blatantly displayed at the Pic and Pac, according to neighbors. And the packaging was pretty unsophisticated: photocopied labels or CDs in generic boxes marked with a Sharpie.

Patel did not return phone calls from the Hook.

"The investigation was about copyright infringement," says Rybiski. "They took a multitude of pirated DVDs and CDs, but no drugs were found."

The Pic and Pac's clientele favors hip-hop, says a neighbor, and the store carries a lot of smoking paraphernalia. "This is probably going to stop a lot of bad things," he says.

Across the street is Virginia Arts recording studio. "It always blew my mind," says owner Chris Doermann. "They had photocopies of labels. It looks like a Hong Kong supermarket full of pirated disks."

He doesn't recall musicians recording at Virginia Arts running across their own music. Says Doermann, "The stuff was major labels." 



You would think the FBI would have better things to do. I feel so much safer.

I am glad they got caught and I think that those people need to be send back to their country even if they have became a citizen of this country. Because if we were there it would happen to us.Also the stores need to be closed completely and not allowed to ever have anything in america again

Many people assume that DVD piracy is a victimless crime. Most people, of course, are not going to shed a tear for the profits lost by major Hollywood corporations.

However DVD Piracy is more than just getting a product for free or cheap and screwing over the artists and big corporations that profit from the product. Film Piracy can be an indicator of other more serious criminal activities and most often is linked to organized crime.

Organized crime, and even terrorist groups are attracted to the relative high returns and low risks associated with DVD piracy. And who knows what other crimes those high returns can go toward funding.

While the person mentioned in the article may wind up being small potatoes it is foolish to discount the crime or those engaging in it as this person was doing.

As an added note ethnicity and/or citizenship status have no place in this discussion.

Gosh "Cin" we wouldn't want any of "those people" to upset your perfect little world. "Those people need to be send back to their own country even if they have became a citizen of this country." In the meantime, maybe you should work on your English and grammar a little. You seem to be afflicted with that dreaded mental disorder known as the "Virgil Goode syndrome", also known as knuckle dragging disease.
"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives."

The store owners broke the law and they will be punished.

Stupid person here. Oh, and I am proud of it, that is, being stupid. Atleast I understand theft. My conservative dumb brain recognizes who loses here. Most liberal musicians are the ones really being ripped by the Patels along with the state and fed system which feeds the near-do & not-so-wells... Bury those clowns deep inside the walls of the state prison system and don't let them out ever. But, knowing the Patel ring of Patels throughout Va and the US of A, there is money for everything including three piece suit ritzie Va. lawyers. Ripping off the musicians, ripping off loads of people with creative talents and abilities is not cool. Kids or whomevers led to believe they're buying good stuff. Crooks, road agents, thieves they are. Real theives. And, it doesnt stop there. These guys love profit and the greater the margin the greater the greed.

"Bury those clowns deep inside the walls of the state prison system and don't let them out ever."

While I certainly agree that these people should be prosecuted (just not by the FBI) do you really think the infraction is commensurate with your solution? And since you seem to be so concerned with the economics of this situation have you considered the disproportionate cost to the taxpayer of enacting your solution?

Wow this is really close to home guys!!!!!

Patels are being Patelian. Live and learn. Deal with those who deal fairly with their patrons. A deal isn't a deal always for all concerned. The price may be great and the product reliability lousy. So, live and learn. Deal with those who deal fairly.