Man suspected of collecting upward of $7,000 in arts fest ticket scam
August 10, 2010
The Park City Police Department is probing a suspected scam involving someone who Kimball Art Center officials claim posed as a ticket seller during last weekend’s Park City Kimball Arts Festival and then pocketed the money he collected from people heading into the festival.
Rick Ryan, a police captain, said investigators interviewed the person and planned to forward the case to the Summit County Attorney’s Office for screening by prosecutors. The prosecutors had not received the case by Tuesday morning, the office said. The Police Department did not release the person’s name or other identifying information about him. He was not arrested prior to the police interview, Ryan said.
Ryan said the person might have taken upward of $7,000 before the Kimball realized what was occurring. Admission to the festival was $10 per adult.
"It’s pretty brazen to either pose or be a volunteer and continue to do that," Ryan said.
Chris Crowley, who directed the festival’s operations for the Kimball, said the person was spotted Saturday afternoon, a few hours after the festival started collecting admission fees.
According to Crowley, a festival volunteer noticed something was amiss, saying that the person who was selling tickets did not want to take breaks and refused to rotate to other assignments at the entry gate. It was not unclear how long the person was selling tickets, Crowley said.
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Crowley was alerted to the situation and investigated. Crowley said he recognized the person as someone who had been dismissed as a festival volunteer in 2003 after Kimball officials suspected him of taking money at the entry gate during that year’s festival. Crowley said the person returned the money in 2003.
Crowley said the person claimed to be a volunteer this year, but the Kimball said he was not assigned as one. The person, though, obtained a credential and a T-shirt before starting to sell tickets, he said.
"He was definitely collecting cash. He was definitely not scheduled by us at all," Crowley said, adding that that person was putting the money into his pockets.
Crowley acknowledged that the person could have collected thousands of dollars by Saturday afternoon. When the person saw Crowley walking toward him, he walked away quickly in the direction of the Sky Lodge and disappeared, Crowley said.
"We averted a weekend-long fleecing," Crowley said.
Crowley credits the festival volunteer who alerted him of the situation. He said the volunteer was "on the ball" and did a "great job" by noticing something was out of the ordinary.
Crowley declined to name the person suspected of posing as a ticket seller or discuss where the person is from. The Kimball, though, has a name and address on file for the person from the volunteer assignment during the 2003 festival, he said.
"I was absolutely surprised. Literally, within the moment, I recognized him. I was quite surprised," Crowley said.