NEW YORK — Score one for the good guys.
According to an investigator working with the New York Police Department, what may have been the largest seizure of counterfeit apparel in Manhattan in recent memory occurred last week at 122 West 27th Street. Sources said at least four tractor-trailer size loads of goods were seized, and six unidentified individuals were arrested.
Kevin Dougherty of Counter-Tech Investigations Inc. said the seizure, with the assistance of the NYPD’s organized crime investigations division, began last Wednesday and was completed on Friday. Most seizures are done in one day. Some of the goods sported brand names such as Rocawear, Enyce, Baby Phat, Lacoste and Seven For All Mankind, Dougherty said.
The investigator said the seizure involved millions of dollars worth of items, and noted that “some brands had excess of 25,000 garments seized.” His firm doesn’t keep a record of the dollar value of goods seized, only category classifications — more than $1,000 or more than $100,000, for example — that match the different felony levels under the New York Penal Code.
Dougherty said counterfeiters are running their operations differently these days. “They used to rent entire floors in the Broadway area. Now we’re seeing them rent just a room in a storage location, and taking a large-volume customer in one at a time. In the past six months, we’re also seeing greater activity in Queens and Brooklyn,” Dougherty explained.
He said among the brands being counterfeited, there were fewer designer names like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Coach, and more hip-hop or streetwear brands popular with a younger, urban demographic.
A sergeant with the NYPD trademark team who was involved in the seizures could not be reached for comment by press time.
Robert L. Tucker, an attorney at Tucker & Latifi, a firm specializing in trademark protection and enforcement, said, “It’s amazing, the work that the NYPD is doing in seizing counterfeit goods in the city. Mayor Bloomberg’s administration has done more to fight counterfeiting than any other [mayoral] administration in recent years.”
As counterfeiters are searching for new ways to evade enforcement, Tucker noted that the quality of counterfeit goods is “getting better and better, to the point that [many] manufacturers are using high-tech security labels that can’t be duplicated.”