Paul J. Browne, chief spokesman for the police department, said in an e-mail garments confiscated in raids were shredded in 2009 because no one asked for them, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Prior to April, the city turned over some of the seized goods to not-for-profit organizations that distributed them to aid groups across New York.
But this summer, the police department rented an industrial shredder and destroyed a dozen tractor-trailer loads of bootleg goods after they were no longer needed for legal proceedings.
"It would be hard to justify taking a truckload of perfectly good clothes and incinerating them, but that's what's happening," said William Montana of the New York City Clothing Bank.
Montana said it's a case of people with good intentions "creating an incredibly wasteful" outcome.