CRANSTON, R.I (WPRI) — Gucci, Fendi and Prada were among the designer trademarks found on counterfeit goods seized from a yard sale on Cliffdale Avenue Friday, Cranston police said.
Eyewitness News was on the scene as detectives seized clothes, shoes, handbags and more from tables set up end-to-end in the front yard of the home. More boxes were stacked in a van, which police said was left with its door wide open when they arrive on the scene.
Three Pawtucket men have been arrested in the alleged counterfeit scheme. Stephen Russell, 42, Ryan Peirce, 28, and Robert Brown III, 39 are charged with forgery, counterfeiting or alteration of trademark, and conspiracy.
Police said they received a tip that Russell would be bringing the phony designer goods to the yard sale. 26 designer trademarks were counterfeited, according to police, along with a number of sports team logos.
Police brought in intellectual property investigators to confirm that the goods were counterfeit. If sold in stores, police estimate the value of the items would be worth $1,000,000.
Col. Michael Winquist, the Chief of Cranston Police, called the dismantling of this operation “significant.” He said the monetary losses to companies from counterfeit operations often get passed on to the consumer.
“Often the sale of counterfeit trademark merchandise is overlooked and viewed by many as a victimless crime,” Winquist said. “It has been proven that criminals involved in this activity use the sale of counterfeit merchandise to fund other illegal activities including narcotics trafficking and even terrorism.”