Counterfeit items seized in searches

  • Follow Metro

Authorities raided three cell phone stores and a residence on Friday, seizing a treasure trove of suspected counterfeit items, including designer purses.

Columbia County Sheriff's Office Investigator Robert Torres helped to close the stores during the raids.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Columbia County Sheriff's Office Investigator Robert Torres helped to close the stores during the raids.

They also raided the Evans home of the stores' owner, Christopher Bettis, 28, and said they hope to interview him when he returns from a trip to Virginia.

About 30 officials from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, assisted by the Georgia Department of Revenue and the Secret Service, conducted the searches beginning about 11 a.m. at the following locations: T-Mobile and Sprint, 4455 Washington Road, Evans; and T-Mobile stores at 4216 Washington Road, Evans, and 3830 Washington Road, Martinez, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

"Approximately 300 items were seized from two (Evans) stores," Capt. Morris said. "Those were the counterfeit items. There were wallets, handbags, sunglasses, watches, jewelry. Nearly 300 items, a retail value of over $100,000 (if actual designer items)."

Authorities were led to the back room goods after a recent burglary investigation and a visit from a "trademark representative" hired by Louis Vuitton. The representative purchased a handbag from one of the Evans locations, according to a search warrant filed Friday with the Columbia County clerk of court.

The seized counterfeit merchandise included knock-offs of luxury merchandise from Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Coach, FUBU, Dooney & Bourke, Fila, and Fendi, Capt. Morris said. Paperwork, computers and other records also were seized from the three stores in addition to vehicles and recreational vehicles from Mr. Bettis' home off Mullikin Road.

Mr. Bettis faces charges of insurance fraud and two counts of counterfeit trademark violations, Capt. Morris said.

Police already have arrested a store manager, Dion Desir, 30, on a counterfeit trademark violation. He was being held without bond in the Columbia County Detention Center, Capt. Morris said.

Reach Valerie Rowell at 868-1222, ext. 110 or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.

NO NEED TO WORRY

Authorities say those who have purchased faux-designer accessories from the T-Mobile locations should not worry about criminal prosecution. "We are focused on the seller," Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

Comments (184) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 02/02/08 - 02:32 am
0
0
I thought you could buy all

I thought you could buy all that stuff at the Barnyard.

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 02/02/08 - 03:40 am
0
0
Go to Washington DC and you

Go to Washington DC and you can buy it on any street corner.

TENTBOYZ
0
Points
TENTBOYZ 02/02/08 - 05:11 am
0
0
All of these drug dealers

All of these drug dealers floating around and they had to arrest this guy. The police department cann't find anything else to do. You can buy any of those items from any where in Augusta including boot leg cd's and movies. Give us a break.

pro@this
0
Points
pro@this 02/02/08 - 05:57 am
0
0
I strongly agree with you

I strongly agree with you TENTBOYZ! Also, this guy was only 28, and he had four phone stores?!? That's an enterprising young man. He could have been out selling drugs, but handbags, come on! Let's focus on the real reason he got pinched, he wasn't paying taxes on that stuff, so they took him down like Nixon!

1957
0
Points
1957 02/02/08 - 06:14 am
0
0
How would you feel if you got

How would you feel if you got home after spending 600.00 on what you thought was a designer handbag and discovered it was a fake? That is theft any way you look at it. The police towed away a BMW, and a truck and every toy you could want. All paid for by the money he duped people out of. Is that okay with you?

sliique
0
Points
sliique 02/02/08 - 06:40 am
0
0
1957, you say, "The police

1957, you say, "The police towed away a BMW, and a truck and every toy you could want. All paid for by the money he duped people out of. Is that okay with you?" HOW do you know what he earned and paid for legit, as opposed to alleged slum stuff? Regarding your "how would you like it,?" Please be advised, most buyers already know they're buying slum when they buy. I said most. Indeed, ever heard of caveat emptor? Latin, you'll need to google it, I'll wager.

keysandlocks
0
Points
keysandlocks 02/02/08 - 06:48 am
0
0
Folks, "Augusta resident" has

Folks, "Augusta resident" has it wrong. Bootleg merchandise IS NOT readily available at the Barnyard. I suggest that anyone interested contact the Barnyard management and discuss the market's policy concerning bootleg merchandise. I'm not say1ng there has never been vendors of bootleg merchandise there. They just do not last long. In many cases, their merchandise has been confiscated and they were led away by Richmond County deputies. There are many, many decent, honest and respectable vendors at the Barnyard. As one of them, I could not let "Augusta resident's" comment pass without response.

Itll be alright
0
Points
Itll be alright 02/02/08 - 07:05 am
0
0
I thought they sold that crap

I thought they sold that crap at the FLEA MARKET as well.

1957
0
Points
1957 02/02/08 - 07:16 am
0
0
Sliique argue with me all you

Sliique argue with me all you want but a thief is a thief any way you want to word it.Not everyone has a criminal mentality and a lot of people were duped. Myself, I wouldn't spend the money on any of it, but anyone buying a product has the right to know what they are paying for. Frankly, I am surprised that some of you feel that consumers deserve to get screwed because the store looks reputable and they might not be savvy enough to know better.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 02/02/08 - 07:18 am
0
0
Barnyard, the one across the

Barnyard, the one across the street or whatever. I can't spell half names and wouln't know the difference. I'm sorry if I offended anyone that works at the fleamarket. But wait, I know for a fact that those dogs are bootlegg copies.

1957
0
Points
1957 02/02/08 - 07:22 am
0
0
PS. Sliique. Guess it takes

PS. Sliique. Guess it takes slum to know slum.

Justwantedtotalk.
0
Points
Justwantedtotalk. 02/02/08 - 07:29 am
0
0
If you really think that you

If you really think that you are buying a designer purse from a cell phone store, there is the first dead give away. what is to say that big retail stores are sell the real thing? what is real anymore? With recycling,synthethics,and faux material being puchased everyday. What is really real. I know that this is a trademark dispute with company being upset by there products being replicated with other material but if it looks that real, why can't the origianal manufuturer make their for nearly the same price? It's not like eithier one is sharing the profit with the designer or the workers that make the products. In the end these are the people I FEEL lose the most. The people that work so hard to push a quality product so that we the consumer can feel and look good. They go home with just they pay,few benifit and fear that if they mess up one time they are out of a job. $600 item work see just they're pay. Most of us are employee how many time has corporate said "We just made a million dollars profit i want to share it with you so that on top of what we're paying you here some incentive to work harder and make your life better." Just my thoughts. Thank You.

pointstoponder
181
Points
pointstoponder 02/02/08 - 07:40 am
0
0
I find it far more disturbing

I find it far more disturbing that anyone is willing to pay $600 for a handbag.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 02/02/08 - 07:54 am
0
0
Sound like New York again.

Sound like New York again. First it was guns now it's high end pocketbooks.

WhiskyDick
0
Points
WhiskyDick 02/02/08 - 07:57 am
0
0
What's the issue? The seller

What's the issue? The seller knew it was fake - he took the chance, he lost. Doesn't matter if many you think it's a real crime or not, it's still illegal. The flea market is in Augusta, not Columbia County, so call Ronnie Strength and tell him you think it's OK that counterfeiters should be left alone, even if that mean old Clay Whittle wants to arrest them.

oh man
0
Points
oh man 02/02/08 - 08:41 am
0
0
So you have worked hard built

So you have worked hard built a company brand and its ok for someone to sell fakes under your name. Its ok; the companies involved only spend billions of dollars protecting their names but its ok that this man was destroying the names of several corporations. Big companies don't play when you mess with their trademark. January, Louis Vuitton had other illegal distribution points closed to include nyc and china; just google it. They sued and won from ebay what makes you think they would go to the ends on this one as well.

oh man
0
Points
oh man 02/02/08 - 08:45 am
0
0
the question is why hadn't

the question is why hadn't columbia shut it down before now. Why did Tmobile condone this. For all of us who ever went in the store we all saw the purses; at no time was anyone trying to hide the activity, Teens go in there and buy purses all the time. CCSD knew what was going on in there back door as well. They chose to ignore it. 90% of the women in cc knew the new shipments were put out on tuesday and saturday. They sold more fake purses out of that store than cel phones

critter
2
Points
critter 02/02/08 - 08:51 am
0
0
Illegal is illegal. The guy

Illegal is illegal. The guy was selling knock-offs, and got caught doing it. And since he was selling these things, it's no stretch of the imagination to assume that some of that money went to purchase his stuff, vehicles and all. Good for the police!

workingmom
0
Points
workingmom 02/02/08 - 09:11 am
0
0
What the man was doing was

What the man was doing was illegal...no doubt. I'm sure CCSD knew about this but it does take some time for investigators to do their job and do it properly. If not, the man gets off on a technicality and the guy is free to move somewhere else and start up a new business.

Walden
41
Points
Walden 02/02/08 - 09:27 am
0
0
The reason why more bogus

The reason why more bogus merchandise cases arent made is because the companies who are being ripped off have to make a complaint. In this case they did. Alot of the bootlegging that goes on is ignored by the major companies because it cost more to pursue the offenders than what they are losing by bootleg sales. Some guy on the street corner selling bootleg DVDs is not worth it to them. If someone breaks into your house and you dont care and dont want to prosecute the police arent going to pursue it. Same thing with most of the bootlegging. The victim has to want to do something about it.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 02/02/08 - 09:31 am
0
0
All designers are now hiring

All designers are now hiring "trad reps" to scour the country and internet ( ebay) for trademark violations. It is a crime to sell fakes..... period. You do the crime you pay!

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 02/02/08 - 09:47 am
0
0
Just last night I was in a

Just last night I was in a seafood store and saw Coach and Gucci bags hanging on a rack. While I was there I saw two go out the door. I looked at them and if someone cannt tell the difference between the real thing and the knockoff they are blind. The leather looked like viny which it probably was and the stitching did not match. There were also boxes of athletic shoes on a vendor table outside in the open. If I were one of those manufacturers I would do everything I could to protect my trademark and the quality of my goods. I know the person who ownes the store is just trying to make a living but not at the expense of the manufacturer who has spent millions developing the brand name. The names weren't even mispelled like Rolax for Rolex knock offs.

BamaMan
2395
Points
BamaMan 02/02/08 - 09:51 am
0
0
I doubt very seriously anyone

I doubt very seriously anyone thought they were buying an actual designer item.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 02/02/08 - 10:01 am
0
0
Red Man, I am sure you are

Red Man, I am sure you are right otherwise they would go to the company store that is in all big cities are a high end store. Not the local seafood store or corner vendor that packs up and moves to the next corner at the end of the day.

dani
12
Points
dani 02/02/08 - 10:21 am
0
0
Here we go again. Supposedly

Here we go again. Supposedly sensible adults defending the criminal acts of a slime-ball.

Tired of the BS
0
Points
Tired of the BS 02/02/08 - 10:31 am
0
0
That was a hell of a lot of

That was a hell of a lot of excitement yesterday over some knock-off handbags. That just goes to show you that all these people walking around acting all high and mighty are really a fraud like the fake bags they carry-----There were a bunch if women and men shopping there

dani
12
Points
dani 02/02/08 - 10:56 am
0
0
invfriend...Well said.

invfriend...Well said.

dani
12
Points
dani 02/02/08 - 10:58 am
0
0
Tired of the BS.. Doesn't say

Tired of the BS.. Doesn't say much for the caliber of people doing the shopping, does it?
I reckon fakes buy 'fake' goods.

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 02/02/08 - 11:42 am
0
0
If anyone watched the news

If anyone watched the news they said these items were selling for 60-100 dollars I have several dooney and coach bags and not one was under 175, the wallets are 175 and up. I doubt anyone thought they were real.

Dmoney86
0
Points
Dmoney86 02/02/08 - 11:42 am
0
0
This was a friend of mine. He

This was a friend of mine. He is a family guy. he has a beautiful wife and kid. Then you got these guys out here killin our kids, sellin them drugs. This man was providin for his family. And you should know that you should buy Gucci from Gucci. Not Gucci from a random dude!

Back to Top

Top headlines

Developer fined by Georgia EPD

The developer of a Grovetown subdivision has been fined by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for failing to control erosion and other water quality control violations.
Search Augusta jobs