FELONY CHARGES AGAINST TWO FOR PIRATED DVDs
Sunday, March 21, 2010 — For less than the price of a bag of popcorn, visitors to a south suburban nail salon could purchase the latest movies to hit theaters, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced.
But a Friday night raid on P’s Nail Salon, 14200 S. Chicago Ave. in Dolton, resulted in the felony arrests of two men and the seizure of recording equipment and more than 1,000 DVDs.
Phan Nguyen, 48, of Hazel Crest, and Van Ngo, 56, of Chicago, were arrested after they sold multiple, illegally-recorded DVDs to undercover Cook County Sheriff’s Police officers. They had most new releases to theaters in stock, but also took requests. Most DVDs sold for $5 each, but officers reached an agreement with Nguyen to purchase DVDs in bulk for as little as $2 each.
The Motion Picture Association of America served as the complaining witness in the case, which resulted in Ngo being charged with four counts of unlawful use of unidentified sound or audio, which is a felony. Nguyen was charged with three counts of the same charge.
Investigators were able to purchase “Shutter Island,” “Good Hair,” “Sherlock Holmes” and “The Hurt Locker” in multiple trips. When an officer requested the just-released “Alice In Wonderland” last week, Ngo told him it was not in stock, but could be obtained. After going to a back room, Ngo returned a short time later with a quality copy of the movie.
Records show Nguyen is the manager of P’s Nail Salon and he admitted to investigators the recording equipment was his. When officers raided the salon on Friday, about 18 employees were doing manicures and pedicures, with the new releases playing on nearby televisions. The nail salon remains in operation.
Saturday at the Markham courthouse, bond was set for both men at $4,000.
Nguyen posted bond, but Ngo continues to be held on a 2006 warrant from DuPage County for criminal trespassing. The next court date for both men is set for March 23 in Markham.