The life of the ticket scalper is not one to envy. You have no guaranteed set level of income, you always have to be on the lookout for the fuzz and, worst of all, you never get to see the beginnings of the games! But now ticket scalpers have a whole new threat to worry about: Undercover geriatrics!
In Paul Pringle’s story from yesterday’s LA TIMES focusing on the practices of ticket scalping during the Dodgers playoff run - which seems to be coming to an end shortly - a bombshell in unloaded onto the unsuspecting public: The LAPD are using an army of “retirement-age citizens” posing as customers in order to send the scalpers to the slammer.
More from the LA TIMES:
“Last season, the cops sent some old people after me,” said Cory Robertson, 36, who was scalping outside the stadium’s Elysian Park Avenue gate Sunday, dressed in a Kirk Gibson jersey. “I sold them two tickets, and the cops came from everywhere. I thought it was a drug raid. . . . They took me to jail.”
“I pretty much know all the undercovers,” said [Teddy] Damon, who has been scalping for 15 years. He declined to say how many times he had been arrested or cited, but acknowledged that he got pinched last season after selling to a white-haired decoy couple.
[LAPD Capt. William] Murphy said the volunteers undergo vetting by the department before they’re deployed. Without them, he said, it would be tough to stay a step ahead of the scalpers.
“Undercover officers get burnt really quickly,” he noted. “You can only arrest the same person once.”
And it seems that the oldies-but-goodies have been doing their job to the best of their abilities: 64 scalpers have been arrested this year, compared to 49 last year. Maybe the LAPD know something we don’t about the inherent trustworthiness of old folks. Or maybe they’re just paying them in the one currency no senior citizen can resist: Werther’s Originals.