Crackdown on illegal vendors in New York: Police seize over $10 million worth of counterfeit luxury goods and jewelry in Manhattan

MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) — More than $10 million worth of fake merchandise has been taken off the streets of New York City, thanks to a big bust by police.

The corner of Canal Street and Broadway in Lower Manhattan is a New York tourist hotspot for all the wrong reasons, but it was deserted Monday night.

The fake Rolex watches were all gone, along with the Gucci handbags and Louis Vuitton shoes.

NYPD officers took away three truckloads of fake luxury goods, while arresting the cheeky street vendors selling them.

“The sidewalks were blocked, there were properties everywhere, goods everywhere, and it’s really having a negative impact on local businesses,” said NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey.

Fake Rolex watches were selling for $75. Even at that price, authorities say the counterfeit products they seized had a street value of more than $10 million.

A man said he saw the raid as officers arrived and made arrests.

“All you saw was the NYPD jumping out of unmarked cars, marked cars, paddy wagons,” an unnamed witness said. “They cleaned everything from here to here. And these guys used to sit around all night. Rolex watches, everything you can imagine. Yves St. Laurent? All that stuff.”

The initial complaint came from a Broadway shopkeeper who asked not to be identified.

The trader told Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett, off camera, that illegal vendors had taken to the streets, sidewalks were sometimes impassable, and he had pleaded with the police station to do something about it.

When planning the raid, the police worked with luxury goods manufacturers who examined the merchandise in advance to certify that it was counterfeit.

“He or she will look at the property and say, ‘That’s not genuine. It’s a counterfeit bag. It’s a fake pair of sneakers. And then we make the arrest,” Maddrey said.

A total of 17 vendors were arrested.

If found guilty, they face felony charges which, on a first offense, carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. However, the actual sentence would be determined by a judge.

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