The aren't just in story books. The reason there are so many tales about pirates is because they did exist, and still do in some parts of the world. This story from Yahoo, is one of modern day pirates.
The myth is alongside the one of highwaymen, who are all now seen as ruthless but "romantic" characters, when all they really were was very cunning thieves usually oozing charm.
Today's pirates don't seem to have the charm, just desperate times seem to require desperate measures. Isn't it funny how people's perceptions change?
I do hope the couple are soon released.