BAYTOWN, Texas – A Baytown man was trying to cash in on the Houston Texans football fever around town by selling fake jerseys to fans, according to Baytown police.
Edward Lawrence Williams, 46, was charged with trademark counterfeiting.
Police were tipped off on December 10 that two men had set up shop outside a tobacco store in Baytown and were selling fake Texans gear.
A plain-clothes officer in an unmarked vehicle drove to the scene and spotted Williams and another man, 38-year-old Victor Rhodes, standing near a maroon Ford F-150. The truck had numerous Texans jerseys hanging from the side mirrors, tail gate and the bed of the truck.
The officer observed a sign listing the prices of the jerseys as one for $65 and two for $125, according to court documents.
The officer asked Williams how he was able to sell the jerseys so cheap because they retail in stores for $150. Williams allegedly told him it was because he bought the jerseys in bulk.
The undercover officer then asked if the jerseys were the “real thing or the old cheap ones made in China.” Williams told him the items were indeed real and showed him the double-stitching and the good quality of the fabric.
The officer said he would return later and secretly took a snap shot of one of the jerseys. He then forwarded the photo to an investigator employed by Nike, who is an expert at identifying counterfeit merchandise.
After reviewing, the investigator said he was 99 percent sure the items were counterfeit and police felt they had enough evidence to seize the items for further inspection.
They went back to the location and, this time, identified themselves as law enforcement.
Williams recanted his earlier claims about the items being real and buying them in bulk for a lower price. He now claimed he got the merchandise on consignment from a man named “Ian,” but refused to give any more details about the man, investigators said.
Officers seized 41 counterfeit jerseys, valued at $2,665, and released the men. They told them they would be notified after the investigation was complete.
Williams told officers he understood, but was frustrated because he “was just trying to make extra money before Christmas.”
Investigators determined the quality, packaging and labeling of the items were not consistent with the trademark manufacturer.
A warrant was then issued for Williams’ arrest. His bond was set at $5,000.
It was unknown if Rhodes was charged.