The bust led to a seizure of knock-off purses, jewelry, sneakers and other fake designer goods on Canal Street, with the arrested vendors facing charges of trademark counterfeiting property over $1,000, which is a felony in the state of New York, Chief of Patrol Jeff Maddrey said.
Authorities added they “seized over three truckloads of merchandise,” according to ABC 7 New York.
Cops Raid Illegal Canal Street Vendor Market, With Counterfeit Goods Totaling Over $10 Million
“The area of enforcement we went to today resembled a local street market,” the chief said at a press conference a few hours after the bust.
“Sidewalks are blocked, there’s property everywhere, merchandise everywhere. This really impacts local businesses in a negative manner, as well as reduces the quality of life.”
Despite the relatively low prices, with fake Rolex watches selling for $75, police say the sheer amount of fake goods they seized combined for a total street value of over $10 million, the outlet reports.
The bust was the result of a complaint lodged by a local shopkeeper on Broadway, who had asked not to be named.
Authorities consulted luxury goods manufacturers ahead of the bust, who inspected the merchandise to certify that it was indeed counterfeit, according to ABC 7.
“He or she will look at the property and say, ‘This is this is not authentic. This is a knockoff bag. This is a fake pair of sneakers.’ And that point, we make the arrest,” Maddrey said.
Canal street crackdown currently underway ugh all the men ran away and now the cops are bagging up all their stuff.. 😪 big ebenezer scrooge energy from nypd pic.twitter.com/o4xCxDAXIo
— Jeanette Hayes (@jeanettehayes) November 28, 2022
Department Will Be Ramping Up Outreach Efforts To Help Vendors Legally Obtain Licenses
Maddrey went on to say that the department will be ramping up outreach efforts citywide, and will help vendors legally obtain licenses with Monday’s bust serving as a reminder that selling counterfeit merchandise remains illegal.
“We recognize during the holidays, activities such as this will increase, and our efforts to deter this conduct, to investigate this conduct, will be ongoing,” Maddrey said.
The New York Post reports that Bill Friberg, a “counterfeit recognition specialist” and retired NYPD sergeant who Seventh Precinct cops brought on the raid, said that much of the goods seized were from India and China.
Friberg countered the department’s claims that the goods were “high-end.”
“This stuff here is poor-quality fakes,” said Friberg.
“Ninety-nine percent of it I can just look at it and tell you that it’s counterfeit.”
If convicted, those vendors who were arrested face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if it’s their first offense.