A 24-year-old man who tried to sell bogus Madonna concert tickets to two plainclothes Abbotsford Police officers has been arrested and is now facing fraud charges.
Police are now trying to determine if the same man is responsible for previously having sold fake tickets for two sold-out Coldplay concerts at Rogers Arena in Vancouver last month.
Const. Ian MacDonald said police received five separate complaints following the Coldplay concerts on April 20 and 21 from people who had purchased tickets from an individual selling them on Craiglist.
They didn’t initially realize that the tickets were fake.
“Most of them actually got to the door (of the concert) and got turned away,” MacDonald said.
It appeared the man had legitimately purchased two tickets online and then made photocopies, slightly altering some of them, for the buyers.
When meeting with the purchasers in Abbotsford to deliver their tickets, he would show his credit card receipt as proof he had bought them online.
A major crime detective began a small sting operation in response to these incidents, searching on Craigslist for postings that used similar wording and style.
In late April, he contacted an individual who was offering to sell tickets for the Sept. 29th Madonna concert at Rogers Arena.
Police determined the tickets were bogus, and the officer then made arrangements to meet with the seller and exchange them for cash.
Two plainclothes officers went to that meeting at an Abbotsford restaurant on Tuesday afternoon, when the fake tickets were handed over and the man was arrested.
MacDonald cautions the public to be wary of purchasing concert tickets through online personal ads.
“The best protection I can offer is they buy their tickets from a reputable seller – if not the original vendor, then a re-seller with a track record. We warn people all the time that people are not necessarily who they purport to be on the Internet.”
And, for the fraudsters, he issues this warning: “Their next customer may be an Abbotsford Police detective.”