Local News

Knock-Offs of Brand Names Abound

Posted January 24, 1997

— Tommy Hilfiger has created one of the nation's most successful trends for children and teens, but the craze for "Tommy" products has led to a major counterfeiting market.

What started as a bust of design counterfeiters has turned into something much larger in Wayne County. Police uncovered boxes of fake jewelry and designer watches that were intended for sale as the real thing. In one box, police even found Tommy Hilfiger watches. Hilfiger's company doesn't make watches.

It started in Selma, N.C., where 15 boxes of clothing and jewelry were found. Bryan Keith Rone (pictured at right) was arrested for selling the knock-off merchandise.

Undercover agent Ron Daniels of the Selma Police Department was in charge of the sting. He says it's fairly easy to make the fakes.

He is still undercover, so his face cannot be revealed. But he did tell WRAL TV5's Bret Baier what the public should look for when buying what appears to be the real thing at a much lower price.

Roan reportedly bought the fake Hilfiger watches in downtown Goldsboro from Kenneth Kinslow, who police say operated the watch and jewelry operation.

When police uncovered that operation, the whole ring came tumbling down. In all, police recovered 73 boxes full of fake jewelry and watches worth about $100,000 on the street

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders says he's happy to put an end to such an operation.

Police are in the process of counting all the goods they have confiscated. They say there are more of these articles being made all the time with much of the fake merchandise coming to North Carolina from New York.

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