Posted by Adam Jacobi
Of the litany of criminal acts that transpire on a gameday Saturday, most are generally harmless, like public intoxication or cheering for Auburn (oh, we kid, we kid). And few are as pernicious as ticket counterfeiting, which has become an especially advanced enterprise with the advent of high-powered scanners and relatively cheap printing equipment. It's a simple fact that when commodities become significantly more valuable than the combined cost of their materials and production, somebody's always going to be looking to get in on that action--by legitimate means or otherwise.
So technically, it should be no surprise that two men were selling counterfeit Alabama tickets outside Bryant-Denny Stadium last weekend. It should be scarcely more surprising that they were caught by police when fans realized they'd been sold forgeries. It's significantly surprising, however, what lengths the cops went to in catching the alleged counterfeiters:
Two fans approached officers at the intersection of Paul W. Bryant Drive and Hackberry Lane and said they had bought fake tickets from two men in a 2009 Nissan Maxima, said Tuscaloosa Police spokesman Officer Brent Blankley. When one of the officers walked up to the car, the driver sped away. TPD’s helicopter was flying over the stadium and was able to follow the car, while advising officers on the ground of its location.
Officers stopped the car at Buttermilk Road and Parkwood Drive and found three counterfeit tickets to the game and three fake $20 bills, Blankley said. Officers found other tickets in the car and are working to determine whether they are fake.
The helicopter was a necessary tool in catching the men; a cursory glance at Google Maps shows that the alleged offenders were caught 5.5 miles away. And still, the officers were a little lucky that they found some counterfeit bills in the car too; that's a federal offense. If it were just some fake tickets that came up in the arrest, it would be a little hard to justify the use of a helicopter in the suspects' apprehension, wouldn't it? Using those isn't cheap.