A monthlong investigation yielded a trailer’s worth of seized counterfeit goods in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood Tuesday.
This story first appeared in the December 9, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Investigators covered 30 stalls in 10 buildings on the four-block stretch of Canal Street between Broadway and West Broadway, said Jason Post, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, which conducted the operation. The raids started late Monday night and lasted into Tuesday morning, as investigators seized knockoff perfumes, handbags and other accessories, Post said.
The confiscated goods bore the marks of Gucci, Tiffany, Chanel, Coach, Juicy Couture and Cartier, those with knowledge of the operation said.
No arrests were made during the sweeps and the counterfeit items were turned over to the New York Police Department, according to the mayor’s office. Authorities had not placed a value on the seized merchandise as of press time.
The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement oversees quality of life issues including what it calls “trademark-counterfeiting bazaars.” According to Post, investigators received warrants to search the locations after taking counterfeit goods bought at the stalls to a judge.
“Coach is pleased with the results of today’s actions, and grateful to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, the NYPD and Counter-Tech Investigations for their continued efforts to enforce the intellectual property rights of the brand owners,” said Todd Kahn, senior vice president and general counsel of Coach Inc.
Kevin Dougherty, president of private investigative firm Counter-Tech Investigations Inc., said Tuesday his company had aided in the inquiry on behalf of brand owners. Over its five-week course, he said his investigators had seen more holiday traffic in the Canal Street area than in recent memory.
“We feel like this year, unlike many past years, counterfeit sales are increasing and we attribute that to the economy,” Dougherty said. The increased traffic, he said, meant more people were being subjected to the often unsafe conditions of the buildings used by counterfeiters.
He added that raids such as the one executed Tuesday are important because buyers on Canal Street often support other operations, which can range from purse parties in the suburbs to interstate distribution. “It’s not uncommon to go down there and see repeat customers,” Dougherty said. “We’ve seen [license] plates from as far away as Carolina.”