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Fake pro, college sports memorabilia worth millions seized

Charly W. Karl

More than 600 fake championship rings for professional and collegiate sports were confiscated by law enforcement agents last week during a raid of a South Carolina memorabilia store, officials said.

The haul seized from Kirk's Collectibles had an estimated retail value of about $15 million and included phony rings for the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, Stanley Cup and unnamed NCAA sports, according to Shannon Wiley, a spokesperson for the South Carolina Secretary of State.

No arrests have been made in an investigation being conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and no information has been provided about possible suspects.

"Whether it's a fan losing their hard-earned money on a fake item they were led to believe was authentic, or small businesses losing vital sales, intellectual property theft is a real crime with real victims and real financial impacts," said Ronnie Martinez, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's investigative arm in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Federal, state and local officials raided Kirk's Collectibles at an upstate mall on Feb. 8. The hoard includes 157 Super Bowl rings, 83 NBA Finals rings, 99 World Series rings, 29 Stanley Cup rings and 251 NCAA championship rings for unnamed sports, Wiley said. The shop also sells nonsports memorabilia, according to its website.

The confiscation is the highest-value seizure in the Secretary of State's office's history.