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Wilson Videos Found to be Impostor Entertainment

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Investigators say many of the fake films have yet to be released officially on video
WILSON — They look like the real thing, and you might not notice anything wrongwhen you watch them. But the truth is, there are hundreds of thousands ofbootleg videotapes out there. One of them may be sitting in yourentertainment center. Dozens of the fake tapes are turning up in Wilson.

Authorities there have enlisted the help of Alcohol and Law Enforcementofficials with their investigation. The bogus tapes aren't being sold invideo stores, but in convenience marts. One of the store owners sellingthe tapes told police he didn't know he was doing anything wrong.Officers say everyone involved knew what they were doing-- breaking thelaw.

Carol Deans first heard about the fake tapes a few weeks ago. As theybecame more and more popular, her legitimate video sales suffered. Deanssays she was told about the tapes by sales people. After looking aroundlocal stores, she was able to turn up some of the tapes herself. OnceDeans found the tapes, she bought a few and turned them over to theauthorities.

Police discovered low quality tapes covered in glossy slipcovers. Theywere allegedly sold in three convenience stores in Wilson. To theuntrained eye, the tapes look pretty good, but the quality isn't evenclose.

Wilson detective Bryant Gibson says a legitimate tape can go from $60-$80.The tapes turned up don't appear to be of the same type quality.

The easiest thing to notice is the fact that many of the bootleg tapesaren't even available yet on video. Movies like "Men in Black" and "AirForce One" are still in theaters right now. They won't be released onvideo for another three months.

Deans says the fakes hurt everyone involved, but she understands the lureof money is a powerful incentive.

"If you can buy a $70 movie for $10..." Deans says. "...you're going todo it."

The people involved in the fake tape ring now face misdemeanor charges.Three convenience store owners are in Wilson. Police say the tapes weremade in one of two ways: they were dubbed from one tape to another, orsomeone may have taken a small camcorder into a theater and taped moviesdirectly from the screen.

The low quality videos are something the Motion Picture Association isglad to have off the streets.

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