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Jewish World Review April 4, 2001 / 11 Nissan, 5761

Bill Bryan

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Consumer Reports

Police took ouit classified ads to catch Final Four scalpers -- ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis police used a new ploy for nabbing ticket scalpers during the NCAA Women's Final Four basketball tournament over the weekend at Savvis Center. They took out classified advertisements in the Post-Dispatch, seeking tickets.

Thirty people responded, with one quoting a price of $1,500 for two tickets, police said. But when an undercover officer on the other end of the phone asked each to come to St. Louis to finish the deal, 26 declined.

"Many of those who didn't want to come into the city to make the sale were aware that it's unlawful to scalp tickets in the city," said a vice detective.

The four would-be sellers who made the trip - three to downtown bars and one to a fast-food restaurant - were charged with city ordinance violations, police said.

Undercover detectives also made 15 more traditional scalping arrests outside Savvis Center on Friday and Sunday. Altogether, officers seized 57 tickets and $5,000 in cash, police said.

Scalping means selling a ticket at more than the printed face value. Generally, city court judges fine scalpers $50 to $500. Despite concerns about the possibility of people selling or trying to use counterfeit tickets to the long-sold-out games, none showed up, police said.

Bill Bryan writes for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Comment by clicking here.


© 2001, SHNS