Posted By LeAnn Wallace
There's been a huge counterfeit merchandise bust in Duluth. Duluth police working with the U–S Immigration and Customs officials found thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit goods inside three city businesses.
The fake designer goods were taken from the New U Clothing Store at 207 East Superior Street, Christopher's Clothing at 305 West Superior Street and from Fred and Mark's Sports World at 1600 Miller Trunk Highway.
Among the counterfeit items confiscated were designer labels such as Coach and Louis Vuitton as well as items bearing sporting trademarks such as the NFL and the NBA.
"We had two search warrants and what we call a plain view seizure when we walk into the business and everything in the plain view which you could see on the sales floor was seized for counterfeit property. We had just over 1,650 items seized which had just over 100–thousand dollars retail value on the streets," says Officer Russ Bradley of the Duluth Police Department.
Authorities worked with some of the company's sales representatives, as well as counterfeit specialists, to determine which items were fake.
"They're stealing millions of dollars away from the producers of those clothes that actually hold the trademarks," says Officer Bradley.
Counterfeiting and piracy, across the country is estimated to cost up to 250–billion dollars a year and some three quarter of a million American jobs.
Christopher's Clothing has since closed its doors...and Fred and Marks Sport's World has also gone out of business.
Charges are pending against the owners of the three Duluth businesses.
The counterfeit goods are being held by the immigrations and customs enforcement agency until the case goes to court. Once the case is finished police say the merchandise will be destroyed.
Some of the business people did admit to police they thought the merchandise was fake.
Others told authorities they just figured they were getting a good deal.