Police have seized more than 4,000 items of counterfeit clothing from a Whitesburg store.
The Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department and private investigators searched merchandise at Deb’s Place at Pine Mountain Junction on September 20 and confiscated “anything that was a copyright infringement,” said Lt. Brian Damron of the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department.
American Eagle Outfitters contracted Advanced Investigative Services (AIS) to determine whether Deb’s Place sells counterfeit clothing after someone reported the Whitesburg business.
After AIS investigators made several purchases from Deb’s Place, the sheriff ’s department obtained a search warrant.
Police seized counterfeit items bearing the brand names American Eagle, The North Face, Under Armour, Aeropostale Monster, Fox, Harley Davidson and John Deere, said Damron.
T-shirt shops buy prints of fake logos and then use a heat press machine to make shirts that look like name brand clothing.
In addition to the manufacturers losing money, retail stores that sell legitimate name brand products also lose sales when consumers buy cheaper versions.
“It hurts the local business owners who have licenses to sell these clothing brands,” said Damron.
This is the first time the sheriff ’s department has assisted private investigators in a copyright infringement case.
“It was as much a learning experience for us,” said Damron.
Customers who buy knock-off clothing could be prosecuted and Damron warns people to not buy such items.
“Just because they think they are getting a good deal, they shouldn’t buy it,” said Damron.
Damron said shoppers should look at brands listed on the inside of clothing.
“If it’s stamped with a different company logo, it’s probably fake,” said Damron.
Some of the items taken from Deb’s Place are actually Hanes brand, Damron said.
Damron also warns other businesses from buying or selling knock-off items.
The sheriff ’s department is working companies that had copyright infringement and the information will be presented before the Letcher County Grand Jury, Damron said.
No charges have been filed. The Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office is assisting in the case.
For more information on counterfeit clothing and how to tell whether an item is fake or real, visit www.thecounterfeitreport.com.