Ticket scalpers risk fines, jail for profits

By: Jonathan Martin Email
By: Jonathan Martin Email

April 3, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Deputies are all over Washington Road this week cracking down on crime, and there've been several arrests today.

Deputies say Sunday and Monday are their warning days, but today they start cracking down on all illegal activity and increasing their presence.

One person was arrested today for trying to sneak drugs into the course, but their biggest busts have been ticket scalpers.

It's common knowledge that a ticket to the Masters is pretty hard to come by.

"Supply and demand," said a scalper called Jimmy D. "Everybody wants them and no one wants to give them up."

"I just want get in the tournament, and tickets are going anywhere from $100 to a thousand," said Lee Eckerman.

As usual, scalpers are saturating Washington Road, looking to buy, sell, or both.

It's illegal to scalp within half a mile of any entrance to the national, but people still do it.

"They all say they don't know, but they know," Col. Gary Powell told News 12. "It's on every literature that goes out with the tickets. It's illegal to do it."

Col. Powell has made several arrests today. He's able to catch the scalpers thanks to a mobile command unit outside the course. Cameras on a light pole and on top of the rv allow him to zoom in on scalpers.

The sheriff's office also has deputies roaming the street in uniform and undercover. When they spot a scalper, they warn them first.

"'Move down the street, half a mile from the course. If we catch you back out here, you will go to jail,'" was Col. Powell's example.

But many of the scalpers just ease on down Washington Road and continue--and authorities say that's common, considering going to jail and paying a thousand dollar fine can be worth it to them. After all, they're getting several thousand dollars for one badge.

Last year 20 scalpers were arrested, charged with disorderly conduct, and fined $700 to $1000.

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