NEW YORK — Only hours before Louis Vuitton hosted its Thursday night gala at the Brooklyn Museum to draw attention to the evils of counterfeiting, investigators and New York City police officers carried out a raid of a Queens warehouse that turned up an estimated $5.5 million in fake handbags and sneakers.

This story first appeared in the April 4, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Thousands of handbags bearing the Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Fendi, Kate Spade, Gucci and Prada labels were confiscated during a raid at 129-02 Northern Boulevard in the Corona section of Queens on Thursday afternoon. In addition, a cache of Nike-labeled footwear and Bathing Ape-labeled jogging suits was discovered.

Kevin Dougherty, president of private investigations firm Counter-Tech Investigations Inc., which headed up the investigation, said it would likely take several days to empty the contents of the two-story brick warehouse, which is located near Shea Stadium. Dougherty said his “conservative estimate” of the amount of bogus goods in the facility stood at more than 50,000 handbags, 65,000 pairs of Nike shoes and approximately 6,000 Bathing Ape two-piece jogging suits. He also believes the labels of other well-known brands are likely to be found as crews begin wading through two levels of floor-to-ceiling boxes.
“We ordered five tractor trailers to empty the building and I put another two on reserve,” said Dougherty.

According to Dougherty, several people were taken into custody. The NYPD press office did not return a call seeking to confirm those arrests.

The Queens raid marks the second large-scale counterfeit action carried out in the city in slightly more than a month. In late February, the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement and the NYPD raided a collection of Chinatown buildings occupying a city block that was operating as a virtual mall for counterfeit goods. More than $1 million in counterfeit accessories and fragrances were seized and the building was shuttered.

Warehouses located in the outer boroughs often supply Manhattan street retailers, like those in Chinatown, with counterfeit products.