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Police: Ariz. man made, sold fake air bags

By By Phil Benson
Published On: Apr 04 2014 08:21:22 AM MDT
Police patrol car

Antonprado/iStock

PHOENIX (KPHO) -

An Arizona man faces state counterfeiting charges after a police investigation turned up more than 50 fake vehicle air bags that he allegedly made and sold at his home.

Dwight Smith, 58, of Maricopa, Ariz., was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on Tuesday afternoon on charges of counterfeit marks and manufacturing of counterfeit air bags and components.

The criminal probe was conducted by a joint task force involving the Phoenix Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations special agents. 

A search warrant served at Smith's home led to the discovery of the bogus automotive airbags and igniter components used to inflate the safety devices, said Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes.

The Phoenix Police Department bomb squad detonated several dozen small initiator components at the scene as a safety precaution, Holmes said.

During the three-month probe, detectives and agents were able to verify that Smith was selling the airbags to residents, Holmes said.

Authorities said they discovered most of the air bags would not have worked properly had they been installed in vehicles.

Authorities are working to identify people who bought the air bags.