OKC Man Accused Of Selling Knockoff Thunder Shirts
OKLAHOMA CITY - After an undercover investigation, Oklahoma City police charged a man with running a counterfeit Thunder t-shirt shop.
The store was accused of violating the state's trademark act and infringing on the team's logo.
Criminal charges were filed Thursday against 48-year-old Howard Hughes.
The store itself was called ‘Thunder Up Custom Screen Printing,' but police said the Thunder merchandise inside was fake.
When News 9 pulled up to the shop on S. Western near I-240, the open sign was lit, and customers appeared to be welcomed inside.
But within minutes of our presence, a woman from a storm shelter company next door walked over to the shirt shop and apparently gave the folks inside a heads up.
Within moments, the open sign was turned off and the door was locked.
“We never like to see the law broken, and if something is counterfeit, obviously that's breaking the law,” said Thunder's VP of Corporate Communications, Dan Mahoney.
Mahoney said the organization has specific rules in place to protect them, the business, and most importantly the fans.
“We don't like seeing it abused, certainly from a business perspective,” said Mahoney. “We've invested a lot in the logo and in our colors and what we stand for.”
According to court documents, the investigation at the shirt shop, owned by Hughes, began last summer after someone made a complaint about the shop selling bogus NBA gear.
During a search of the business, police found 235 Thunder shirts in various colors and sizes identified as counterfeit.
“Certainly if it doesn't have the official NBA license property on it, it's probably counterfeit, probably fake, don't buy it,” said Mahoney.
Hughes was convicted of a felony in the late 80's and served time in prison. He faces new felony charges as well as possession of marijuana and firearms.