BEYOND BERGEN: Authorities charged the owner, manager and clerk at a Seaside Heights Boardwalk store after seizing nearly $11,000 worth of knockoff merchandise, including dozens of Snoop Dogg vapor pens, as the Summer of ’14 came to a close.
State and local investigators last Friday raided “In the Cut” and seized more than 150 watches with such designer brand names as Rolex, Burberry, Gucci, Michael Kors and Casio G-Shock that they said were selling for $49.99 to $209.99.
They also snatched up bogus 37 Snoop Dogg G-Pens that retailed at $129.99, as well as knockoff Ray Bans and NFL gloves.
They closed the business and arrested store manager Ahamad Elkady, 24, of Brooklyn, on charges of distributing counterfeit goods, and clerk Kwabenah A. Ayeh, 21, of Colts Neck, who they said gave cigarettes to minors.
On Tuesday, Seaside Heights police issued a warrant for the arrest of “In The Cut” owner Georgios K. Kokotis on charges of distributing counterfeit goods.
Local authorities also revoked the store’s business license.
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, the Seaside Heights Police Department and several other agencies teamed up for the task force operation.
“Throughout New Jersey’s Shore communities, our Safe Summer initiative has promoted a safe and family-friendly atmosphere on New Jersey’s boardwalks by finding and eradicating problems from mercantile violations to the sale of contraband items such as illegal drugs, banned toys, and counterfeit goods,” acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.
“The Seaside Heights Police Department, as well as the other agencies that joined our Safe Summer initiative, deserve real credit for helping us ensure that New Jerseyans had a safe and enjoyable summer on our beaches and boardwalks,” Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee added.
Seaside Heights Police Chief Thomas J. Boyd praised DCA detectives: “The investigators proved to be extremely talented identifying indistinguishable merchandise during this investigation.”
Hoffman cited other results of the “Safe Summer 2014” initiative:
· The June 12, 2014 arrest by Atlantic City Police of a store owner and a clerk at “Angels and Saints Boutique,” a Boardwalk shop, on counts of possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) and endangering the welfare of a child, as well as the immediate suspension of the store’s city mercantile license. Investigators at the store recovered bottles of a liquid substance, intended for consumption via vaporizing pens, which tested positive for synthetic marijuana, a Schedule I CDS. Police also seized $2,037 in U.S. currency and 49 switchblade knives.
· On June 26, 2014, Atlantic City Police arrested an owner and a clerk at “Boardwalk Outlet,” also a Boardwalk shop, on counts of possession of CDS, possessing and selling prohibited weapons, and dispensing contact lenses without a license. Police seized 10 packages of suspected synthetic marijuana as well as five butterfly knives, 14 brass knuckles, 18 expandable batons, numerous novelty contact lenses, and $1,644 in U.S. currency.
· On July 26, 2014, investigators from the Division of Consumer Affairs Enforcement Bureau partnered with the Atlantic City Police Department and Atlantic City Tourism Bureau to conduct store visits as part of Safe Summer 2014. This visit to multiple stores resulted in the voluntary surrender by shopkeepers of 292 vials of novelty contact lenses allegedly sold without prescriptions, 70 packets of supplements allegedly sold without meeting the labeling requirements for items intended for human consumption, 21 packets of smoke blends that allegedly did not meet the labeling requirements for items intended for human consumption, and four synthetic urine kits purportedly intended to subvert drug tests.
· Also as part of the Safe Summer 2014 initiative, on July 1, 2014 and July 24, 2014, investigators from the Division of Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection and Enforcement Bureau visited retail businesses along the boardwalks in Point Pleasant and Atlantic City to identify violations of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and related regulations. In Atlantic City, two Boardwalk shops voluntarily surrendered a total of 66 dangerous, contraband novelty lighters. The Division’s Office of Consumer Protection also cited eight Atlantic City Boardwalk shops for failing to provide price tags with items offered for sale.
Participating agencies included:
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and its Office of Consumer Protection, Enforcement Bureau, Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission, and Office of Weights and Measures; the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety;
The New Jersey State Police and its Office of Forensic Science; the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control; the New Jersey Treasury Criminal Investigation Unit; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission;
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office; the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office; the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office;
The Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs; the Ocean County Division of Weights and Measures; the Ocean County Health Department;
The Atlantic City Police Department; the Atlantic City Tourism District; the Atlantic City Office of Code Enforcement; the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department; the Seaside Heights Police Department; the Seaside Heights Office of Code Enforcement; and the Seaside Park Police Department.
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