Pittsburgh Mills store owner could avoid trial on counterfeiting charge
A Pittsburgh Mills mall store owner accused of selling counterfeit merchandise will be able to get a misdemeanor charge against him thrown out if he completes 100 hours of community service, a judge ruled Friday.
Tommy Wang, 42, of Pittsburgh’s Highland Park neighborhood had been scheduled to appear Tuesday for a nonjury trial in Allegheny County Court on a sole count of misdemeanor trademark counterfeiting.
Allegheny County Judge Edward J. Borkowski said Friday that Wang could have the charge dismissed if he completes the community service through the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Probation Program.
“We made the determination that handling this case through ARD was an appropriate disposition,” said Mike Manko, spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. He didn’t elaborate on why that decision was made.
Wang’s attorney, Casey White, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Wang has never been convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania, according to online court records. He has nine months from Friday to complete his community-service hours.
The investigation into Wang started in February 2018 after Frazer police were called to the store, Shop Off the Hanger, for a report of an attempted burglary, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.
While there, former Frazer police Officer Lee Bartolicius reported seeing more than 100 items of what appeared to be unlicensed, counterfeit merchandise, according to a police report. Investigators photographed and purchased counterfeit items during two trips to the store in March 2018, the complaint said.
A search warrant served on March 15, 2018, turned up seven pallets containing almost 1,800 suspected counterfeit items, including glass coasters, flags, clocks, beer mugs and wine glasses with Harley-Davidson, Pitt, Penn State, Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers logos.
White twice tried unsuccessfully to have the case against Wang thrown out.
In his first dismissal motion filed in February, White claimed the investigation into Wang was a “racially charged witch hunt.” He said police specifically targeted Wang because he is Asian American and called the prosecution illegal. In his second dismissal motion filed in March, White said a police officer made a false statement in a search warrant for Wang’s store.
Prosecutors in February contested White’s claims, saying police acted appropriately and without racial motivation in the case.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .