Beginning Monday night into yesterday morning, police shut down 30 counterfeit vendors along Canal Street and seized their merchandise, including perfumes, handbags, and other accessories posing as Gucci, Tiffany, Chanel, Coach, Juicy Couture, and Cartier products. An officer at the time told us the bust was about "[taking] back the streets of New York." While that may have been part of the impetus, WWD reports today that the raid was — surprise! — instigated by the companies knocked off by counterfeiters:
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.
The seized merchandise was turned over to a judge before authorities investigated the buildings themselves. A division in the mayor's office is in charge of overseeing "quality of life issues," and places where counterfeit items are sold fall under their purvey. So really Coach just wants to keep us all safe this holiday season from musty basements and Canal Street's general seediness.
“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.”
He adds that this is why closing down counterfeit vendors is important — these customers could travel across state lines to their homes to distribute the bags in purse parties. The last thing this city needs to be facilitating are purse parties in one of the Carolinas.