NYPD recently seized over $10 million in designer knock-offs in a counterfeit goods bust and arrested 17 street vendors.
According to CBS New York, the NYPD seized fake handbags, sneakers, jewelry and other knock-off designer products totaling a street value of $10 million during the bust. The bust reportedly occurred in Lower Manhattan’s Canal Street on Nov. 28 following a local shopkeeper’s complaint to authorities. The complaint prompted them to consult with several luxury goods manufacturers and check the merchandise, which was later confirmed to be “high-end counterfeit goods.”
“The area of enforcement we went to today resembled a local street market,” NYPD Chief Of Patrol, Jeffrey Maddey, said at a press conference just a few hours after the bust. “The sidewalks were blocked. There was property everywhere, merchandise everywhere, and this really impacts local businesses in a negative manner, as well as reduce the quality of life of the residents.”
The NYPD reportedly “seized over three truckloads of merchandise,” including fake items from luxury brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga.
“During the holidays, activities such as this will increase,” Maddrey noted.
Police reported that 17 street vendors were additionally arrested during the bust and that vendors are currently facing charges of trademark counterfeiting property over $1,000–a New York state felony that can result in up to ten years behind bars.
“There’s layers of victims when you look at this. There are people out here buying these bags thinking they’re real when they’re not real,” Maddrey added.
Canal Street has reportedly been a hotspot for counterfeit bags and shoes since the 1980s. Its close proximity to prominent shopping destination, Soho, has posed as an alleged problem for stores that sell authentic designer merchandise. As such, the NYPD said it’s attempting to work with shop owners to ensure they’re selling goods legally. Authorities have also reportedly been planning outreach efforts to educate vendors.
“Tell them how they can get their license the right way,” Maddrey said.