by: Carl Willis Updated:
EAST POINT, Ga. - Police discover multimillion-dollar counterfeit purse operationEast Point police spent Thursday night cleaning out a local business that they said was a front for a counterfeit purse operation.
Police raided the shop on Headland Drive and arrested four people for trademark and copyright infringement.
They showed Channel 2's Carl Willis thousands of fake designer purses that they seized.
"We think we at least put a dent in this business here," said Lt. Cliff Chandler.
Chandler said undercover officers were taken to a back room where they purchased knock-off purses for $20-$40 apiece.
They were acting on a tip from federal investigators.
Most of the bags had medallions and designer nameplates that could be snapped on just before a sale.
"Each individual item be it even a small medallion is an individual count (of trademark infringement) so, it's multiple counts that these individuals will be facing," said Chandler.
Police said they seized anywhere from $10-$20 million worth of product, based on what the genuine articles are worth.
"Retail value would be $3,500 possibly $4,000 for each individual piece," said Chandler.
The store operators took steps to keep it all out of sight.
"There are walls that have been built inside with doors that even the owners of the building didn't know were in there," said Chandler. "It was like a maze to get back to where they had the items secured."
There may be plenty of demand for the fakes, but police said this kind of operation costs legitimate businesses and manufacturers millions of dollars.
Atlanta police were also busy Thursday night. They raided a shop in the Discount Mall also on Headland Drive, just a few hundred yards away from East Point's bust.
Police said they arrested two people there and they seized $400,000 worth of fake purses and bootlegged CDs and DVDs.