TAMPA, Fla. — ABC Action News was the only station on scene when Tampa Police and federal agents took down a vendor allegedly selling counterfeit merchandise.
Officers teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday afternoon, arresting Mylik Webb of New York.
Local, state and federal law enforcement officers warn that people from all over the country are setting up shop to flood Tampa Bay with counterfeit items.
The makeshift business was located outside of a BP Gas Station at 3930 N. Nebraska Avenue.
“It’s hurting your community as a whole,” said Adam Snyder, owner of Heads and Tails, a sports gear shop in Tampa.
ABC Action News went along for a weekend raid at the Oldsmar Flea Market. According to officials with the Department of Homeland Security, two recent raids netted more than 7,000 counterfeit items worth an estimated $50 million.
“People nowadays are pushing for small business and pushing for shopping local,” said Snyder. “Ultimately if you’re going to shop at places on the side of the street that are selling knock-offs, that’s eventually going to push these small businesses to the point where they can’t operate anymore.”
ABC Action News found several of these pop-up shops around Tampa on Wednesday.
One man operating a shop on the corner of Florida Avenue and Hillsborough Avenue would only identify himself as “Kimble.”
When pressed where he bought his merchandise for sale, he would only say it is a “trade secret” and promised his items are legitimate.
A spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department said they are aware of these operations and detectives are investigating.