The streets of New York go to hell in a fake Prada hand basket.
Dozens of bogus designer purse dealers have turned the Rockefeller Center area into a crowded black market — as they sell fake bags to tourists just weeks after police purged Lower Manhattan with a $10 million fake loot bust.
At least 30 vendors have taken to the sidewalks between 48th and 50th streets on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan to sell fake Louis Vuitton, Prada and Dior handbags and clutches, The Post has learned.
“It’s a mess, people tripping over bags and getting rushed. It used to be just on the canal [Street], now it’s uptown. It’s just a sign of disorder,” said a Manhattan police officer.
Purse sellers appear to have increased in recent weeks, clogging the sidewalk with lines of bargain hunters – often right under the noses of police officers stationed nearby to control the crowd.
“They come here every year, apparently more every day,” said a Madison Square Garden employee who commutes through the busy Midtown strip. “Some of it is fake and some of it is real, but people don’t really know what they’re buying.”
She added, “That’s really ethically questionable.”
Though legitimate versions of the handbags cost thousands of dollars, the fakes — sometimes spread out on blankets — were costing $40 to $80 on the street when The Post took stock Wednesday night.
The fakes included a medium-sized Dior Book tote that actually cost $3,500 and was listed by a seller as $70-$80.
Classic brown Louis Vuitton Neverfull totes that cost $2,100 in stores were $70 each. And Cassandre Saint Laurent Matelasse chain wallets that cost $1,790 were $40.
One vendor said the two-block strip is a tourist hotspot during the busy shopping season, while another was seen struggling to hide merchandise when a police officer walked by.
A security guard at the 1251 Sixth Avenue skyscraper said he’s noticed a “100%” increase in vendors in the area in recent weeks.
“We’re complaining to the police, but that’s all we can do,” he said of lines of shoppers lining the sidewalks.
The apparent fake sales took place in blocks of police officers deployed for direct traffic and managing holiday crowds.
A Midtown police source said the recent spike in knockoff sellers in the two-block strip was roughly similar to last year’s holiday season.
“The NYPD recognizes that sales of counterfeit goods will increase during the holiday season,” a department spokesman said in a statement.
“The Commanding Officer of the Midtown North District is aware of the sale of counterfeit goods within the district and directs officers daily to remedy this condition through the issuance of subpoenas and through arrests and seizures.”
The influx of counterfeit purse dealers comes after lower Manhattan police officers scooped up more than $10 million in “high-end” fakes during a crackdown on illegal street vendors on Nov. 28, law enforcement officials said.
The NYPD’s raid of counterfeit designer purses, sneakers and other illegal merchandise on Canal Street resulted in a total of 17 arrests, with vendors facing felony counts of counterfeiting property over $1,000, Police Chief Jeff Maddrey said after the arrest.
At the time, Maddrey also pledged that the department would step up its citywide crackdown on counterfeit sellers.
“We recognize that activities like this will increase during the holiday season and our efforts to deter and investigate this behavior will continue,” he said in November.
In August, a huge NYPD sting also netted up to $2 million in counterfeit designer goods on Canal Street near Broadway, but that didn’t stop bogus peddlers from popping up in the same area within months.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/08/dozens-of-fake-designer-purse-vendors-selling-knock-offs-to-holiday-shoppers-near-30-rock/ Dozens of counterfeit designer purse sellers are selling fakes to NYC holiday shoppers