The Duluth Police Department, working with the Duluth office of the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), executed search warrants and made seizures during the past three weeks at three Duluth businesses that have been selling counterfeit merchandise to the public.
On Tuesday, October 20th, 2009, a search warrant was executed at the New U Clothing Store, 207 East Superior Street. The owner of the business has been identified as Willie Love, age 65, of Duluth. Seized were 668 items that included counterfeit designer purses such as Dooney and Bourke, Dolce and Gabanna, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Prada and Fendi. Designer clothing was also seized bearing such names as Coogi, Sean Jean, Apple Bottom, Evisu, Roca Wear and Nike, including Air Jordan. The items seized have an estimated retail value of $20,202.
On Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, a plain view seizure of counterfeit clothing was carried out at Christopher's Clothing, 305 West Superior Street. Clothing was seized bearing designer names such as Coogi, Evisu, Roca Wear, Lacoste, Ed Hardy, Apple Bottom and Baby Phat. 281 items were confiscated in the seizure with an estimated retail value of $16,620. The business owners are Nicholas Frank Campanella, age 29, and Christopher Giddens, age 29. Both are from Duluth. Campanella was present at the business when the seizure occurred.
On Friday, November 6th, 2009, a search warrant for counterfeit merchandise was executed at Fred and Mark's Sports World, 1600 Miller Trunk Highway. 709 items were confiscated, including jerseys and t-shirts bearing trademarks from the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. These items have an estimated retail value of $64,660. The business owners are Frederick Allen Degerstrom, age 33, and Mark John Pero, age 30. Both Degerstrom and Pero are from Duluth.
Charges under violation of Minnesota Statute 609.895, which governs over the sale of Intellectual Property, have been requested against the owners of the three businesses.
The problem of counterfeiting and piracy, once seen by some as relatively harmless crimes, has grown in both magnitude and complexity. Industry and trade associations estimate that counterfeiting and piracy cost the U.S. economy between $200 billion and $250 billion per year and a total of 750,000 American jobs. Some estimates indicate that 5 percent to 8 percent of all the goods and merchandise sold worldwide are counterfeit.
Moreover, the loss of technology and trade competitiveness suffered by U.S. trademark and copyright owners is immeasurable. The creativity and innovative nature of U.S. business is at risk, threatened by a crime that has grown massive and international in scale.
For more information go to http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/factsheets/iproverview.htm
For more information, contact:
Public Affairs Officer/Spokesman
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)