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Police bust illegal Manhattan street vendors, seize $10M+ worth of luxury knock offs

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MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) — More $10 million worth of bogus goods were taken off the streets in New York City, thanks to a big bust by police.

The corner of Canal Street and Broadway in Lower Manhattan is a New York City tourist destination for all the wrong reasons, but it was deserted Monday night.

The fake Rolex watches were all gone, along with the Gucci handbags, and the Louis Vuitton shoes.

NYPD officers carted away three truckloads of luxury knock-offs, while arresting the brazen street vendors who sold them.

“Sidewalks were blocked, there was property everywhere, merchandise everywhere, and this really impacts local businesses in a negative manner,” NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said.

Fake Rolex watches were selling for $75. Even at that price, authorities say the counterfeit goods they seized had a street value of more than $10 million.

One man said he saw the raid, as officers swept in and made the arrests.

“All you saw was NYPD jumping out unmarked cars, marked cars, paddy wagons,” an unnamed witness said. “They cleared the whole thing from here to here. And these guys used to sit up all night. Rolex watches, everything you can imagine. Yves St. Laurent? All this stuff.”

The original complaint came from a shopkeeper on Broadway who asked not to be identified.

The shopkeeper told Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett off camera that the illegal vendors had taken over the streets, that the sidewalks were, at times, impassable, and that he begged the precinct to do something about it.

In planning the raid, police worked with luxury goods manufacturers who examined the merchandise in advance to certify it was counterfeit.

“He or she will look at the property and say, ‘This is this is not authentic. This is a knockoff bag. This is a fake pair of sneakers.’ And that point, we make the arrest,” Maddrey said.

A total of 17 vendors were arrested.

If convicted, they face felony charges that, on a first offense, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Although, the actual sentence would be determined by a judge.

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