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August 10, 2011

Orioles brand still wanted -- by suspected counterfeiters

The Orioles may be sinking fast, but their brand is still a valuable commodity, right along with North Face, Puma and Red Bull. Or maybe it was just a local federal agent having fun with his home team.

Court documents show that an undercover Homeland Security agent investigating fraudulent name-brand merchandise being sold on the Internet made some purchases to help prove his case. He bought a North Face fleece and designer Dolce & Gabbana glasses. Then he purchased a pair of UGG boots.

The items were counterfeit, he alleges in a search warrant application filed in Baltimore's federal court, seeking to "seize" the Internet domain names of the companies he was buying from. You'd expect knock-offs of those items.

But when the agent needed more stuff for his investigation, he bought a "large Red Bull hat," and two baseball caps -- The Washington Senators and the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles cap cost $34.80, from a company in China.

The baseball caps, the agent wrote, "were of poor quality, material, and craftsmanship. The identification labels and packaging material were also of poor quality and uncharacteristic of genuine products."

I'm not sure what other baseball caps were available, or if the agent, Michael T. McFarland II, was having a bit of fun with his home teams (he's assigned to the cyber crimes division in Baltimore). Either way, it was nice to see the Orioles in such prestigious company.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:48 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Courts and the justice system


The Orioles are also of poor quality, material and craftsmanship. So why should it be illegal to sell a cap with the same characteristics?

what!?!? $34.80 for a cap online?
who would pay that?

I'm sure the quality was the same as the $5 caps you get outside the ballpark

JACKIE WATTS AND THE ...OH NO SHE DIDN'T!...LOL...OUCH! One other thing I was just about to submit my comment when I recognized there wasn't enough clarity in the world to read the letters I need to type in order to submit the comment....can't The Sun find another caption verification system that is at least legible?

Good luck prosecuting a company in China. Ain't gonna happen.

Good to see our taxes are going to Homeland Security to fight the horrors of counterfeit goods made in china.

I wonder if he actually gets to keep those things he bought, or if they end up in a box in a warehouse as case evidence.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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