Half-million dollars in counterfeit clothes seized - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Half-million dollars in counterfeit clothes seized

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October 24, 2003

Albany -- Thursday's raid of 14 Albany stores resulted in one of the largest seizures of goods by law enforcement in Dougherty County history. Over 500- thousand dollars worth of counterfeit clothes and goods were seized.

 That shows the scope of the problem manufacturers are facing as they try to protect their brand integrity from counterfeiters.

 The Dougherty County Sheriff's Department had to rent a trailer to store all the counterfeit goods they seized Thursday. Lt. Craig Dodd said "We were very happy with what we got, but we were not expecting quite this much."

Bags and bags of clothes and shoes. Mountains of boxes of hats and purses that they suspect had fake trademark tags. Lt. Craig Dodd said "Several of the stores had a large quantity of the merchandise, with very large back rooms, storage rooms and areas. As you can see."

Sheriff's Investigators accompanied U.S.Customs officials and manufacturing representatives on the raid. Undercover experts had spotted the suspected merchandise while pretending to shop in the stores earlier.

Customer complaints started the sting. The raids sent a message. Lt. Dodd said "I hope in the future they will refrain from buying this imitation counterfeit trademark merchandise."

All the evidence has been marked and cataloged. No one was arrested in the raids, and all the stores remain open.

The District Attorney and Dougherty County Grand Jury will decide if any charges are filed in connection with the counterfeit merchandise.

Lt. Dodd says many of the store owners report that they were tricked into buying the counterfeit clothes at trade shows, and did not know they were fakes.

posted at 4:34 PM by jimw@walb.com