Saturday, April 19, 2014

Who ratted out Brother Abdel?

 ‘Chester is not business friendly’. We all remember that statement from the PPL Park brass. 

On page 4 of April 18ths Daily Times you’ll see a story and mug shots of a father and son merchant who have been charged with selling counterfeit merchandise from their store just 2 blocks from Chester's City Hall.  It took an entire year for agents to determine what most of us have known for over a dozen years. Brother Abdel sells knockoffs.

The DA wants us to be reminded that ‘legitimate businesses and consumers are cheated when…’ they buy knockoffs from Brother Abdel.  And it took Homeland Security, the Philadelphia Commercial Trade Fraud Investigators, private investigators, Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division, and the Chester Police Department to bring down the tiny storefront in Chester’s wasteland of a business district.

Why, after all these years of selling knockoffs did all this heat come down on Brother Abdel at this time?

He’s the only business on that block that is open 7 days a week serving customers who seek a bargain. Not all his merchandise is knockoffs. All of his customers are treated with respect, and he doesn’t hesitate to ‘work with you’ if you’re short a few dollars. He keeps the area around his store clean and the inside is presentable. He employs his family. He owns the neighboring barbershop which keeps another 3 or 4 black men working.

One can only assume that others in city government knew this investigation was going on. Instead of letting it proceed to the point of Brother Abdel’s arrest, why couldn’t someone simply pull him aside and tell him ‘the gig is up’. We’ve let you sell knockoffs for over 10 years and it’s time to clean up your merchandise.

Instead of sending him to jail, why not send him to Chester's Entrepreneur Works and Widener’s Small Business Development Center where they would lead him into a legitimate business using his already proven business acumen. If you want to punish him, make him pay for their training time.

No. Here in Chester we’re not business friendly like that. We’d rather shut the brother down for something we’ve all known has been going on for a decade or more and create another empty storefront in the downtown you so eagerly want to reclaim.

I wonder if Abdel’s son who was murdered on the streets of Chester last year received as much official investigation as the take down of his store.

What’s next? Maybe the next group to go down are the barbers, beauticians, braiders, and nail techs working in Chester without a licenses. Maybe it’s the backyard mechanics. Maybe the bar owners who buy their liquor from Delaware and fill the PA labeled bottles they display behind the bar. Or maybe the Chinese restaurants that never appear to have food delivery trucks bringing in fresh merchandise.

It’s all just a hot mess.



13 comments:

  1. Good points and they are well taken, but how should we argue the letter of the law?
    As a community we should demand, vote into office(city & county), officials who recognize the priority of danger. Sale of a knock-off garment does not threaten the safety of citizens, or increase the murder rate.

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  2. Foreman Mills and the 29.00 store sell fake stuff and got commercials so this is BS

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  3. Wants better for this cityApril 19, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    Great valid points! This city, which was once a great place to live is now in shambles. Plans have been made and are now being implemented to reconstruct this city. New buildings for the outsiders will look great but not until they are empty and lacking people that are not wanted. "Let them kill eachother" and "I'll find a reason to shut them down" has been the key.

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  4. What a shame, but this is the government elected by the people. .. crime on the rise as usual, and now going after a man who has run his business peacefully for years, your city government at work people hope you're proud.

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  5. Excellent article! Especially the paragraph referring to the murder of the storeowner's son not receiving the same type of thorough investigation as the shutdown of his place of business. How are his knock-offs making our city any less safe?

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  6. This is wrong to make a big deal about a person trying to make a living. So what if they had some counterfeit merchandise, why is that such a big deal? IM sure the police and legal system can find more useful stuff to do with then bothering someone that's trying to run a business to Support his or her family

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    1. Chester police only got involved at the arrest. The heat came from way over their head. Hell, some Chester police are Abdel's customers.

      It is a big deal to sell counterfeit merchandise. But when it's permitted to continue in the open for years you have to wonder how why. If you're ok with knockoff Polo, then you're ok with knockoff prescription drugs made from crap, knockoff tires that could blow out in an instant, knockoff cellphone batteries that can blow up in your ear, knockoff meat butchered from sick animals, and so on.

      However, much of the knockoff clothes are the same clothes their selling in the big stores. Just like food folks sell stuff to the dollar stores at a discount, sweat shops sell clothes to the black market...the same clothes they sent to Macy's and Foot Locker.

      I lived in NYC from 1999 to 2001 and was introduced to area around 29th and Broadway. It was the largest knockoff enterprise zone in the country. When the rest of the folks were taking bus trips to Canal Street to by knockoff stuff, those who knew would hit Broadway for the real bargains. That's where the Chester merchants were getting their stuff from - I saw them there.

      NYPD would be right on the sidewalk watching thousands of people come and go in and out of these buildings with huge bags of knockoff everything.

      Around 2007 they finally started shutting down those shops (although some still do exist but it's risky to shop with them now). Little by little the Feds are coming around and shutting down all the knockoff shops they can find. All someone has to do is let them know of one and they'll be there. Someone ratted on Brother Abdel.

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  7. It could have been another business who reported him. For thous who don't see counterfeit merchandise as a problem what do you say to the businesses that are doing what there supposed to do. Illegal is illegal until this city takes all crime seriously its not going to improve. He may be a nice guy, but running a business that does illegal things is not sustainable.

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    1. I doubt if it was another business who squealed. Brother Abdel's business isn't hurting anyone on that block. But there are some property owners on the block who may have.

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  8. Way to go Joseph Bail, I can sleep go tonight.

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  9. Maybe Brother Abdel ratted on the police for taking the scope. LOL Chester

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  10. Brother Abel is not the only store selling knock offs over town. Haven't ehy been doing it for years.

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  11. Brother Abdel always gave Me a great bargain or let Me get merchandise when my children were little without cash til a later date to be paid for Christmas. So No I think its not fair that they came down on him like that... Instead of bothering Abdel they need to worry about there corrupt cops and the killers on the street

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