On Thursday, December 12, 2013, Organized Retail Theft Crime Unit detectives arrested yesterday a self-identified “hustler” who sold counterfeit products, such as Nike shoes, Levi Strauss jeans, Louis Vuitton boots, and Coach wallets out of his “T Mitch Auto Sales, LLC” business located at 128 Ave U, N.W., Winter Haven in the Florence Villa area. 60-year-old Tony Mitchell told deputies: “Look at my past history; you can see I’m a hustler.” Tony Mitchell has an extensive criminal history from three states dating from the mid-70s: He has been arrested 7 times in Pennsylvania (including once for Murder, which was later dropped); twice in Georgia; and 27 times in Florida. Mitchell was booked in early this morning for sale/possession of counterfeit goods over $20,000 (1 count; F-2), possession of marijuana under 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $6,000.
“Tony Mitchell has been a thug, a thief, and a violent criminal all his adult life. He’s been arrested 36 times and has been to prison only twice. At 60-years-old, he continues his life of crime. He still hasn’t gotten the message.” --Sheriff Grady Judd
The investigation began from a tip that Mitchell was receiving counterfeit merchandise at his Winter Haven business. Deputies learned that Mitchell was receiving a large delivery of counterfeit Nike shoes yesterday, Thursday, December 12, 2013.
A search warrant was served on Mitchel and the business. Organized Retail Theft Crime Unit detectives confirmed the delivered shoes were counterfeit with representatives from Nike Corporation. There were multiple other brand name products at the business that were determined to be counterfeit—these were also observed in plain view. There were shelves full of shoes and clothing. Counterfeit products found at the store included items with the following counterfeit labels: Levi Strauss (jeans and apparel), Louis Vuitton (boots), Roco Wear (apparel), Ralph Lauren Polo, and Coach (wallets).
The interior portion of the building was set up to look like the showroom of a retail business. Counterfeit Nike shoes were prominently displayed for sale. On the top exterior of shoe boxes were display models of the shoes. The estimated retail value of the counterfeit products recovered is in excess of $40,000. $6,711 cash money in the business was also seized as a result of the investigation. A small amount of marijuana, a scale, and rolling papers were also found.
Tony Mitchell was interviewed and told detectives he has been selling goods on the street since the 1970’s. He said: “Look at my past history; you can see I’m a hustler.” Mitchell told deputies he pays $28.00 for a pair of “Air Jordan” shoes and sells them on the street for $50.00.