Man Charged for Stealing Concert Tickets in Facebook Deal Gone Awry

Riverside police nab Indian Head Park man who grabbed concert tickets from seller during meeting arranged on Facebook where he used real name, cops say.

James M. Smith, 21, of Indian Head Park. | Riverside Police
James M. Smith, 21, of Indian Head Park. | Riverside Police

A meeting arranged over Facebook that resulted in allegedly stolen concert tickets ended well for the seller when Riverside Police were able to track down and arrest the “buyer.”

The seller filed a police report around 1:30 p.m Sunday, June 15, saying she had arranged to sell two Spring Awakening concert tickets for $300 to a man later identified as James M. Smith, 21, of Indian Head Park, a police news advisory said.

When Smith showed up at the meeting place in the 100 block of Pine Avenue, there was a second person in the car. Smith exited the car and asked the seller for the tickets., according to a police news advisory.

Smith was holding the cash in his hand. As the seller pulled out the tickets, Smith allegedly grabbed them out of her hand and got back into the car, fleeing eastward.

Because Smith had used his real name when setting up the deal on Facebook, police said they tracked him to numerous addresses, until they found Smith at his current address in the 7200 block of South Wolf Road.

Riverside Police immediately contacted Ticketmaster and had them cancel the barcode number that was on the tickets for the Spring Awakening concert, which was Sunday, the same day the tickets were allegedly swiped.

The seller was able to positively identify Smith from a photo array, police said.

Smith was taken into custody on Monday, June 16, and charged with two misdemeanor counts of theft.

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel cautioned against arranging cash transactions over social media.

“The victim, a 21-year-old female from Mount Prospect, had driven from Mount Prospect to Riverside to meet this individual on a street corner to exchange cash for concert tickets where the whole arrangement was made on Facebook,” Weitzel said. “It is certainly not a good practice for individuals to exchange information over Facebook and then arrange to meet on a public street where one individual is holding cash and the other is holding the proceeds which were stolen. In this case, the offender actually used his real name.”

Weitzel concert tickets and other items should only be purchased from ticket brokers and other legitimate sources.

“I would suggest that the exchange not take place on the street corner in which neither the victim nor the offender live in Riverside. This type of meeting and transaction should raise numerous red flags.”


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