Expert: Counterfeit Purses An “Ongoing Problem” In Memphis

(Memphis) Thousands of dollars worth of fake handbags are off the streets, and the man accused of selling them is charged with the crime.

Name brands like Chanel and Prada do not come cheap, and police are not giving suspects selling the knockoffs a chance to cash in.

From the runways and red carpets to the streets in Memphis, many women like nice purses.

“Nice designer bags, nice designer clothes,” Nicola Gray said. “You gotta have it.”

J Roby told WREG over the phone that he was the man to have women covered on their high-fashion needs.

“BeBe, Coach, or Guess,” Gray said.

There was one problem: police said all of the designer bags he was selling were fake.

“If it’s not real, I don’t want it,” Tameka Miller said.

Roby disagreed with police as he rushed into court on Monday.

He told WREG he has a business license and bought his bags overseas at a cheaper price.

“You never know if it’s stolen or if people take it and not bring it back. I don’t want to be a part of that,” Kia Whitmore, from East Memphis, said.

Police did not say Roby stole the bags, but said what he was doing was illegal.

“Oh, yes, it’s all over Memphis,” Gray said.

Police went undercover to buy Roby’s merchandise.

Police said Roby told the undercover detective he would be at the corner of Marlin and Elvis Presley on Saturday.

The tip led them to show up, take all of his bags, and place him under arrest.

The bags were handed over to Keith Haney, a former Memphis police lieutenant turned counterfeit merchandise expert.

“This is an ongoing problem. It has been an ongoing problem for some time,” Haney said.

Haney explained the problem stems from the amount of cash the practice brings in.

Police reported Roby had nearly $70,000 worth of bags and about $450 in cash.

Haney said while people like Roby are making money, customers are wasting theirs.

“If you’re getting off cheap, then more than likely you’re getting a cheap product,” Haney said.

In May, Merium Hussein was arrested after officers bought several phoney purses from her out of the trunk of a car at the Rainbow Gas Express on Summer Avenue.

Counterfeit experts said there are three things you need to look out for.

First, make sure the price matches the product.

Second, be sure it is the quality you would expect from the retailer.

Lastly, check the location. Most high-end items will not be sold on the street corner.