State Police investigate store at mall
WINCHESTER — A store at the Apple Blossom Mall is under investigation for allegedly manufacturing and selling counterfeit products.
According to a search warrant filed on Friday in Winchester Circuit Court, information was obtained — during an unrelated investigation — that the T-Shirt Zone was manufacturing and selling T-shirts with counterfeit and protected marks to the general public.
On March 11, Virginia State Police Special Agents J.M. Groner and C.J. McClure went undercover at the store and “observed several types of suspected counterfeit products displayed for sale,” according to the warrant.
The warrant states that the products included T-shirts with trademarked logos such as Major League Baseball, Jack Daniel’s, Monster Energy and Hello Kitty affixed to them by store employees.
Groner asked the clerk in the store at the time, Lori Darazzi, about the source of the logos and shirts. She replied that her husband Tarik Darazzi orders the decals online and sometimes drives to Wildwood, N.J., to buy them.
According to the warrant, she said the store had been open for a few months under her husband’s ownership.
“Lori Darazzi said that she could ask her husband to get any designs or logos we needed and described the manufacturing process ... while she manufactured the ordered shirts at the front counter using a commercial clothing press.”
She allegedly continued to describe the process and the type of designs she or her husband could obtain.
“At one point in the conversation, McClure asked about getting some sports team shirts and Lori Darazzi replied that her husband had the connections for the logos and transfer designs because the trademarked and protected designs were hard to get,” the warrant states. “Lori Darazzi said her husband gets ‘boot leg’ decals from Wildwood, N.J.”
On April 14, McClure and Groner returned, undercover, to the store, this time seeking to purchase shirts manufactured on-site.
McClure discussed with Tarik Darazzi the possibility of creating a number of T-shirts — making up a story that he needed them for a baseball team he was coaching — and asked to have a New York Yankees logo put on the front.
“With a covert camera, [Groner] recorded Tarik Darazzi searching for an image of the New York Yankees logo on a Google search engine, then copying the image to the store computer’s hard drive,” the warrant states. “[He] then opened the image and altered it by removing the copyright/trademark symbol from the image and converting it to a ‘vector’ format.”
“[He] then sent the image to a design cutting machine, which cut the image into an iron on transfer sheet. Lori Darazzi assisted by loading the machine with transfer paper and removing the transfer sheet from the machine. Tarik Darazzi then used a T-shirt press iron to transfer the image to the T-shirt.”
The agents also ordered another T-shirt, and Tarik Darazzi requested $63 in payment and provided them with a receipt, according to the warrant.
They bought other items on July 13, and the warrant states that all undercover purchases were recorded in audio and video.
All items purchased from the T-Shirt Zone were examined by an expert and determined to be counterfeit, officials said.
The search warrant was executed at the store on Wednesday.
Items confiscated include: an iPhone; two desktop computers; two computer monitors; a box containing a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt and business records; a box containing 20 Yankees shirts; a box containing 35 Chanel tank tops; five Honda sweatshirts and six Volkswagen sweatshirts; a box containing 11 Ford, three Duck Dynasty and five Sons of Anarchy shirts and one Jack Daniel’s shirt; a heat transfer decal plotter/cutting machine; and a red T-shirt press machine.
State Police Sgt. F.L. Tyler said the case remains under investigation.
It is not clear if any charges have been placed.
— Contact Melissa Boughton at email@example.com