Pittsburgh Mills store owner could avoid trial on counterfeiting charge | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Pittsburgh Mills store owner could avoid trial on counterfeiting charge

Madasyn Czebiniak
Tommy Wang

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 .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.