Victims of fake ticket scam sting like a bee

Mar. 12, 2013 @ 06:18 PM

A young man and young woman who thought they had purchased good tickets to the UNC-Duke basketball game in the Dean Smith Center only to find out they were fake got their revenge Saturday when they set up a sting to catch the ticket seller.

It started when a 22-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman bought tickets from an online seller for the big game Saturday night. They communicated with a man who went by the name of “Steve” and arranged to meet “Steve” at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel near RDU to purchase six tickets, said Lt. Kevin Gunter of the Chapel Hill Police Department.

After they bought the tickets, the buyer became suspicious that they were fake because they didn’t look right, Gunter said.

“He noticed there were some differences in the tickets he purchased to the ones he saw online,” Gunter said. “He went to campus to have them check to see if they were fake.”

The tickets were fake, Gunter said.

The buyers contacted UNC police and worked with them to attempt to catch “Steve.”

One buyer called “Steve” and told him he would like to buy more tickets, and he arranged to meet him on the UNC campus, but something apparently alerted “Steve” there might be trouble, Gunter said. “Steve” took off running.

Later, Chapel Hill police got involved and worked with the female victim, who called “Steve” and convinced him she wanted to buy tickets. He agreed to meet her in front of Carolina Brewery on West Franklin Street around 6:45 p.m. to sell her four more tickets for $1,000, Gunter said.

“The guy did show up in front of Carolina Brewery and attempted to sell one of the victims more fraudulent tickets, and we nabbed him,” Gunter said.

As “Steve” reached out to take the money from the woman, she pulled the money back, and a police officer moved in and arrested the man, Gunter said.

“Steve” turned out to be John Junior Graham, 50, of 220 Walls Lane of Chadbourn. Police charged him with one count of obtaining property by false pretenses and one count of resisting arrest. A magistrate set his bond at $7,500, and he was transported to the Orange County Jail.