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Case Against Accused ‘New Moon’ Pirate Dropped (Updated)

But she’s not unscathed: Police took the camera’s memory card with the offending 3 minutes of footage

The other "Twilight" saga — this one starring a 22-year-old moviegoer arrested for bootlegging footage from "New Moon" — ended with a whimper Friday when prosecutors dropped a felony piracy charge against her.

"Common sense prevailed," Scott Slonim, chief of the public defender’s office representing Tumpach in Rolling Meadows, Ill., wrote in an email to TheWrap.

Employees called police to the Muvico theater in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont when they spotted Tumpach wielding her digital camera during a Nov. 28 screening of the "Twilight" sequel. She was arrested with about three minutes of "New Moon" snippets, including credits, interspersed with personal footage from her sister’s birthday party, which they were celebrating at the cineplex.

Tumpach had been booked on a charge of criminal use of a motion-picture facility, a Class 4 felony that carries a potential three-year prison sentence. The movie theater, part of the Fort Lauderdale, Fl.-based Muvico theater chain, said in a statement released to TheWrap on Tuesday that they were enforcing their zero-tolerance policy and simply sounded the alarm — "It is then up to prosecutorial discretion to determine the seriousness of any charges that might be leveled."

Tumpach wasn’t without her supporters: "New Moon" director Chris Weitz said this week the charge was "terribly unfair," and a person at Summit Entertainment told TheWrap that the studio had no intention of supporting the case.
She didn’t get away completely unscathed: As a part of the dismissal deal worked out with Cook County prosecutors, Tumpach had to turn over the memory card containing the offending footage.
UPDATE: Summit released the following statement on Friday regarding the charges against Tumpach being dropped:
“In regards to the situation with Samantha Tumpach, we applaud Muvico for upholding the zero tolerance policy on piracy when the incident occurred at their theater in Rosemont, IL. The pirating of films is a very serious issue and we all need to remain vigilant to protect the art of film and the myriad of businesses that the film industry supports. We believe that the attention that this incident has drawn, has served as a reminder to us all that any form of film piracy, or perceived piracy, will be treated with the utmost seriousness. Summit is pleased that all charges against Ms. Tumpach have been dropped and appreciate the efforts of the police and the prosecutors in this outcome.”