Raid nets tens of millions in fake merchandise - KMSP-TV

Raid nets tens of millions in fake merchandise

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EAST POINT, Ga. -

Police say a t-shirt shop was serving as a front for a multimillion dollar counterfeit operation in East Point.

FOX 5 cameras arrived as authorities just began to go through the tens of thousands of bags recovered from the store on Thursday. The store was located in a discount mall on Headland Drive.

It started about week ago when undercover officers visited the shop and bought several handbags marked as high-priced brand names for under $30 apiece. They found determined the purses weren't the real deal.

Police say the store had been there for about a month. They guided FOX 5 cameras from one room to another in the strip mall. Each room was filled with what police say are counterfeit goods including watches, purses, briefcases, bags and other apparel.

East Point Police Lt. Cliff Chandler says there are tens of thousands of handbags alone that are all cheap imitations of Micheal Kors, Louis Vuitton, Coach and more.  The value of the merchandise if it all were authentic would be at least $10 million.

Police say that several individual ran away from the scene as they served the search warrants. They were able to arrest at least four people and charge them with felony trademark and copyright infringement.

Companies lose millions from this type of fraud every years, but it is the unsuspecting customers that are left holding the bag.

"Customers may not know they are receiving a counterfeit bag and think they have a Micheal Kors bag, but it's made in the building right here," said Lt. Chandler.

Police will pull an all-nighter to take inventory on all the fake items. Once everything is accounted for, authorities will determine exactly how many charges each individual who was arrested will face.

East Point and Atlanta police were joined by several federal agencies in the raid. About 12 warrants were served in all.

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