Counterfeit items seized

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 10, 2007

Efforts by two local police departments on Thursday resulted in over $100,000 worth of counterfeit items taken off the shelves of three Hertford County retail businesses.

While charges are pending in all three cases, Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh and Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe both agreed that the important thing right now was to remove the contraband from the store shelves, thus protecting consumers from purchasing what they believe were authentic name-brand items.

Items were seized from two Ahoskie businesses and one in Murfreesboro.

In Ahoskie, $80,000 of alleged counterfeit merchandise was removed from the shelves of Latest Fashions, an establishment located at 103 West Main Street and owned by Alvin Harrell of Ahoskie.

There, Ahoskie Police Detective Sgt. Jeremy Roberts, in charge of the investigation, said several hundred pair of tennis shoes (supposedly Nike brand) as well as jeans and shirts, numbering in the hundreds, were seized Thursday morning. Additionally, Roberts said athletic caps (bearing the names or logos of professional sports teams) and CD’s were also removed from the shelves.

All of the items were placed in boxes and bags and taken as evidence.

“Everything we took from that store was counterfeit,” Roberts said. “We had representatives of name-brand companies working with us on this and they went over each piece of merchandise, letting us know if it was counterfeit or not. They had the trained eye in this case.”

Ahoskie Police officers then visited Upscale Hip Hop Fashions, located at 1200-C East Memorial Drive (the old Ahoskie Used Tires building). That business is owned by Ronnie Bunch of Ahoskie.

Roberts said $29,000 worth of counterfeit shirts and pants were seized at that business. He added that all of those items are now part of the evidence collected in this case.

Charges are pending against Harrell and Bunch.

In Murfreesboro, Chief Rowe reported that his officers removed counterfeit shoes, clothes, CD’s and DVD’s from Sylvia’s Supercuts, located at 609 East Main Street. Rowe said the value of the seized items was $11,800.

“Let me set the record straight by saying the owner of Sylvia’s Supercuts was not involved in this case and will not be charged,” Chief Rowe said. “She had subleased a portion of her place of business to Mickey Ivey. It was on Mr. Ivey’s portion of the place of business from where we seized the counterfeit items.”

Charges are pending against Ivey.

Rowe said all of the merchandise taken from the shelves are considered as evidence and are under safe “lock-and-key.”

“We will be in consultation with the District Attorney’s office on any charges that may be forthcoming,” Chief Rowe said.