Starfield leaker facing a 12 year prison sentence

Resident Apprehended and Indicted for Theft of Starfield Game Footage

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has apprehended and indicted Darin Harris, a Tennessee resident, on felony charges of theft for unauthorized dissemination of early footage from Bethesda’s highly anticipated game, Starfield. Harris is also accused of attempting to sell the game before its official release. According to official records, Harris was detained on August 24 on charges related to property theft and possession of controlled substances.

Harris is facing a Class D Felony Theft charge, which carries a potential prison sentence of up to 12 years.

The investigation into Harris began when Vantiva’s loss prevention chief alerted the police about the theft, as reported by the Memphis Commercial Appeal. A search of Harris’ residence yielded six copies of the game, with one still sealed in a FedEx package that he had used for shipping sold copies. Additionally, authorities discovered three handguns and marijuana. Although Harris claimed that he had purchased the games from someone else, he was arrested on the spot.

The YouTube account “DHavenShadow,” which county sheriffs have linked to Darin Harris, livestreamed and posted 40 minutes of Starfield gameplay captured on a mobile phone. The leaked footage garnered 1 million views before being taken down.

In the video, Harris can be heard saying, “I was just trying something out… It’s a good game, y’all don’t want to miss this. Starfield for real.”

Harris allegedly listed shrink-wrapped copies of Starfield on the online marketplace Mercari, with prices ranging from $200 to $650. His easily identifiable appearance in the streamed videos and his visible GamerTag led to his swift identification.

Law enforcement authorities located and apprehended Harris on August 24. He was later released on $10,000 bail and has a court date set for September 8.

According to the Tennessee Legal Code, Harris is being charged with a Class-D Felony Theft offense, which carries a potential prison sentence ranging from 2 to 12 years.

Past incidents have seen legal actions taken against individuals who prematurely revealed game content. In 2004, Axel Gembe was arrested in Germany for unlawfully acquiring the source code for Half-Life 2. More recently, a UK youth was detained for disclosing early content from the yet-to-be-released Grand Theft Auto VI. In 2020, amidst speculations of an internal leak of content from The Last of Us Part II, Sony confirmed that the person responsible had no affiliation with Naughty Dog and Sony.

Starfield is officially slated for early access preorders on September 1, with a wider release scheduled for September 6.