The NYPD Patrol Service Bureau recovered $2 million worth of counterfeit goods from Lower Manhattan vendors Friday, police revealed.
The NYPD’s Peddler Enforcement Unit’s base in Midtown was overflowing Friday with mounds upon mounds of off-market products posing as name brand merchandise. From bogus handbags and sneakers, to perfume, watches, belts, and more. Officers could barely move around the large haul as they attempted the long, arduous task of sorting through the load.
The bust took place on Canal Street and was performed by the NYPD Patrol Service Bureau. Dubbed “Operation Bag Guys,” Deputy Chief at Patrol Services Bureau Benjamin Gurley said the seizure was driven by community complaints and to prevent the funding of other crimes.
“We also affected five arrests. The people that were arrested were charged with trade market counterfeit, that means selling counterfeit goods. Some people may assume that only victims of the sale of these counterfeit goods are major fashion designers and corporations, but there are consumers who are the victims of these counterfeit items,” Gurley said. “In reality, the money that is raised by the sale of these counterfeit goods is used to further other crimes around the city.”
According to police sources, while these sellers are targeting tourists, there are also those who purchase these knockoffs in bulk and then sell them in online stores such as eBay — all under the false narrative that they are genuine luxury goods that can sell for hundreds of dollars. Gurley also stated that the police department has a specialist who determines if the items are counterfeit.
“We have a professional trained person that is reviewing every product to make sure that it is counterfeit and that person has been trained by companies to identify the items,” Gurley told amNewYork Metro.
The daylong operation is also about ensuring quality of life, police explained. The products will be held and available for their owners to collect, however, in doing so the individuals would be arrested for trade market counterfeit. A source close to the investigation states that the items unfortunately cannot be given away to those in need due to their poor quality and will be destroyed after several months.
“We will continue to do these types of operations and we will go where the community complaints take us. New Yorkers have been calling for these type of operations and this type of police work for months now and we delivered today,” Gurley said.