Local News

Counterfeit Merchandise Ring Busted In Halifax County

Posted April 20, 2006 7:46 a.m. EDT

— It is not unusual to see fake designer bags and clothes in larger cities. It is odd when they turn up in rural North Carolina counties. Halifax County investigators knew something was up when shoppers complained about low prices.

There were famous Nike brands, from Air Force to Air Jordans, as well as Timberland boots and throwback baseball jerseys. But those items were not at a sports store, but an evidence locker at the Halifax County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say all of the merchandise is fake. It was recently seized by authorities from a Scotland Neck business called "The Something Different Store."

"The value of what was seized counterfeit-wise was approximately $36,000," said Halifax County Maj. Wes Tripp. "However, if it was the real stuff, it would have gone over $250,000."

The store had been in operation about six months. The investigation began when people showed up at the police station to complain about low prices.

"Well, they knew it wasn't right," said Scotland Neck Police Chief Doug Pilgreen. "That's why they called."

But why this type of business in the small town of Scotland Neck? Investigators said to look no further than Interstate 95.

"I think we see more of our people passing through, selling out of vehicles," said Pilgreen.

"It's a quick way to make a buck, I guess, and I'm assuming it's easy territory for them," said Tripp.

The state is helping enforce copyright laws for corporate giants and their brands. While the price is low for counterfeit goods, sellers could pay a high price in the end, including federal charges.

Police are still looking for the storeowner, who faces copyright infringement charges.