U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents aren't overly surprised about some of their recently intercepted illegal cargoes at the Port of Philadelphia — 314 counterfeit Bryce Harper Phillies jerseys have been snared since opening day.
"Well, that didn’t take long," read a customs enforcement news release on Friday.
The jerseys were dispatched from Hong Kong and bound for Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, customs agents said. If authentic, their value would have been $44,040.
The bogus memorabilia arrived in six express delivery shipments, the largest of which had 204 Harper jerseys, agents said. The others contained between 18 and 25 jerseys.
The jerseys have been coming in since just before opening day, agents said, and were detained for inspection of authenticity. They were seized by customs agents once they were determined to be counterfeit. Many more are still awaiting that process.
“Transnational criminal organizations counterfeit popular consumer products, and Mr. Harper’s Phillies jersey is among the hottest consumer goods selling today, so it was a good bet that we’d start seeing counterfeit Harper jerseys,” Casey Durst, a U.S. customs official, said in a news release.
Harper signed with the Phillies in early March. His 13-year, $330 million contract was briefly the largest MLB contract in history. Mike Trout got a larger deal from the Los Angeles Angels a few weeks later.
Harper wears No. 3, and his authentic jersey was the most popular on MLB's website as the season began, beating out stars like Trout, Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Mookie Betts of the Red Sox.
Contact Adam Duvernay at (302) 319-1855 or [email protected]
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