By  on September 30, 2005

NEW YORK — Counterfeit goods worth as much as $2 million were seized after a raid Thursday at a Midtown building by officers from the Mayor's Office of Midtown Enforcement.

New York police officers carried out a search warrant on the four-story building at 108 West 28th Street, finding three floors devoted to selling counterfeit apparel and accessories. Officers on the scene said the building's top three floors had been illegally subdivided into 17 cubicles or "shops."

The officers estimated that between $1 million and $2 million of counterfeit goods would ultimately be removed.

By noon, a shoulder-high pile of counterfeit goods had been placed in clear plastic bags and tossed via NYPD bucket brigade to street level before being loaded onto a truck. Footwear made up the bulk of the confiscated items, with knockoffs of Prada, Bape (Bathing Ape), Timberland work boots and an array of Nike styles. Fake handbags bearing the Coach, Chanel, Burberry, Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton and Prada labels were also in abundance. Seized apparel included jeans from Seven For All Mankind and Rock & Republic, and Lacoste polos.

An officer on the scene who asked not to be identified said the pile represented only a portion of the goods on only one of the floors that was being emptied. "It looks like a lot, but this is nothing," said the officer.

Another officer said police estimate that 1,000 bags of seized goods translates into roughly $1 million in street sales. The officer said they expected that by the day's end between 1,500 and 2,000 bags could be removed.

"It's part of a larger initiative to crack down on trademark counterfeiting," said a spokesman for the mayor's office.

City building inspectors have applied for a vacate order based on the dangerous conditions of the building, according to the spokesman, who said the goal of the city's strategy is to capture the merchandise and hold landlords accountable. No arrests have been made.

Midtown raids have been a highly visible part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anticounterfeiting initiative, which kicked off in December 2003. Last year, 10 such raids were conducted, resulting in the seizure of more than $20 million in counterfeit goods. The largest occurred only blocks away from Thursday's raid, at a four-story building on the corner of Broadway and West 27th Street that had been illegally subdivided into 49 rooms. More than $12 million of counterfeit goods were removed from that location."That neighborhood is the key distribution area of counterfeit goods for the entire country," said Barbara Kolsun, senior vice president and general counsel for Seven For All Mankind. "The mayor's office is making tremendous inroads in cleaning it up. We are absolutely delighted to be a part of this program."

Representatives from Nike and Kate Spade did not return calls seeking comment. Coach and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton declined to comment.

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