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Police raid clothing store, find $200K in counterfeit goods

April 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
An Eyewitness News exclusive. Police busted a store in Santa Ana Thursday morning for allegedly selling counterfeit items.

Investigators boxed evidence during a raid at a men's fashion store called I Dress Menswear Inc. in the Westfield MainPlace Mall. Police have arrested 29-year-old Jaire Hernandez who was a store employee.

Authorities' documented fake fashion that was being sold under designer names.

"Dozens and dozens," said Cpl. Chuck Elms from Santa Ana Police. "And we're actually finding more than what we initially thought."

Authorities said the confiscated goods included fake Ed Hardy shirts, Dolce and Gabbana imitations, and jeans bearing the name True Religion.

The regular price for the True Religion jeans is listed at more than $300. It was on sale at I Dress for under $120. Police said that under closer examination of the inside label, it became clear that anyone who paid that much got ripped off.

"Some of the more obvious signs are the cheap plastic buttons," said Elms. "The stitching you can see on the outside should be the same on the inside, and you can tell it's not. If those were authentic True Religion jeans, you would see the words 'True Religion' and the horseshoe in that encoding."

"I'm paying $125 for a pair of jeans and they're counterfeit? Oh I would be hot," said Long Beach resident Tanya Marshall. "I would be very upset about it. That's wrong."

Authorities served a search warrant after receiving information from a private investigative firm that was on the lookout for counterfeiting of major brands.

"We think it's been going on at least two years," said Elms. "That's how long the store has been open for business."

In a few hours of searching, police found more than $200,000 in counterfeit goods. Police are questioning a store employee to try to determine who's behind the operation. They also want to know how the clothing, most likely made in China, made its way to Orange County customers.

"If it was me, I would be mad," said Gloria Jackson from Long Beach. "I would want my money back."

Police said people who bought the counterfeit clothing would most likely have to take I Dress to small claims court to try and get their money back. The officials from MainPlace Mall have no comment.