Carry a pellet gun without a permit, face up to five years in the slammer
Comedian and actor Carlo Bellario was arrested while shooting a low-budget film in residential Woodbridge, New Jersey last November.
Unaware a movie was being filmed, neighbors called the cops. When police arrived on the scene, they learned the film’s producers did not have proper permits to film in the neighborhood, nor did they have a permit to film with a prop gun.
Because Bellario was wielding a soft-pellet pistol (considered a firearm in New Jersey), he was arrested, charged with weapons possession, and spent four days in jail.
Local New Jersey news reported:
Carlo Bellario says he was filming a low-budget, independent movie in a residential area of Woodbridge last November.
“I was playing a bodyguard for a drug dealer,” Bellario says.
The scene the group was filming depicted a car chase with the actor pretending to shoot a gun out of the window of the car. Bellario had a realistic-looking, unloaded airsoft gun as his prop.
Neighbors were unaware that a movie was being filmed and called police.
Bellario says several police officers responded to the scene.
“They rolled up hot. There was eight of them. They got out. They were all charged up, ‘who’s the guy driving, where’s the guy with the gun?’” he says. “I said, ‘I’m right here, we’re actors, we’re shooting a movie.’ I’m in character still. It was in my waistband. I pulled it out slowly because I don’t want to make the wrong move.”
The producers of the movie did not have a permit to film in the neighborhood, so police did not know they would be there. They also did not have a permit to film with replica firearms.
Bellario was arrested and charged with weapons possession. He spent four days in the Middlesex County Jail trying to raise the $10,000 bail because he says that the producers refused to help.
Bellario says that he is restricted from leaving New Jersey and is losing money on missed out-of-state performances. He is raising money online and will hold a benefit comedy show to help pay for an attorney.
If convicted on the charges, Bellario could face up to five years in prison.
Bellario started a GoFundMe page to raise money for his newfound legal troubles.
In between comedy gigs I sometimes take on acting roles. I joined a group on Facebook that posts casting calls. So I saw a post for a movie called Vendetta Games looking for henchman type bodyguards for a drug dealer. So I submitted for the role and got casted. I was to report to the set in Woodbridge N.J it was a small independant film produced by a college student. There was no pay but I was to receive a copy of the film & credit on IMDB… So the scene called for me and another guy to be in a simulated car chase scene and I was to be shooting at the car in front of me. So we filmed the scene in a residential area of Woodbridge, and as soon as we returned from the shooting the scene , the set was surrrounded by police cars. Apparently residents in the neighborhood phoned the police and told them that there was a two guys driving around waving a gun out of the window. Now I understand that residents did not realize we were shooting a movie and understand why the police were called, and I cannot fault the cops either due to the fact that they are getting a call and have no idea what the situaution is.
When the police arrived we attempted to explain to them that this is a movie shoot, and that the gun was a prop. After several minutes of questioning everyone the police had determined that the producer & director neither had a film permit nor did they have a permit for the prop gun which turned out to be an air soft pellet pistol. I was the only one arrested that day for possesion of a handgun, and now face up to 5 years of prison,. I spent 4 days in jail at Middlesex County Jail until my family was able to post bond for me. The producer of the movie told my family that he would indeed bail me out but when he found out the bail was 10,000 he declined to help and left me there and left my family frantic as to how to arrange bail and get me released. He ignored my family’s phone calls & subsequently my family had to lay out over 4,500 thus far for the bail bondsman and other expenses.
So I am humbly asking that anyone who is in the entertainment industry, to please contribute as little as $1… I understand that this time is tough for everyone financially. But if you are unable to donate, please consider sharing it with others who you may feel can help.
As actors we all want to work and get ourselves exposure but we also need to hold the industry to higher standard as well and serve as a valuable to not let what happened to me happen to other actors.
I have several attorneys who want to help and see me through this situation but it will involve a lengthy legal process which will incure a huge amount of fees.
I am highly embarrassed that I am here asking for help like this but I am out of options and my friends, family, and peers are my last hope.
Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye