UPDATE: James Dizoglio and Svetlana Savaceno of Hampton Beach, N.H. were arrested for selling counterfeit tickets at the Super Bowl in 2009. After an investigation by police, the tickets in question were found to be authentic tickets. (Sept. 18, 2012)
TAMPA — Lynn Redmond and his son flew to Tampa and shelled out $3,000 for two Super Bowl tickets on a street outside Raymond James Stadium.
At the gate Sunday came bad news: The tickets were phony.
The sellers? Long gone.
"I got taken by two kids," said Redmond, 66, of Lexington, Ky.
The Redmonds might have gone home angry and disappointed, but a stop at the NFL's "ticket conflict resolution trailer" helped ease the pain.
The league let them buy two new tickets at face value.
Redmond, who works for a company that manages retirement and nursing homes, accepted the offer, and paid $2,000 for two good tickets.
"They were wonderful seats. I paid $5,000 for two great seats, and it was a great experience," he said.
Redmond had been eager to treat his son, a ninth-grade English teacher and big-time Arizona Cardinals fan, to his dream of attending a Super Bowl.
The elder Redmond even looked over tips from the NFL on how to detect a counterfeit ticket. He thought he had done his due diligence before handing over money to the scammers.
"I did tell the police officer, 'If you do catch them, beat the hell out of them for me,' " he said.
He wasn't the only one to get taken. Authorities arrested nine people Sunday on charges relating to counterfeit ticket sales. Nine others were arrested in the weeks leading to the game.
The NFL had planned to make Super Bowl tickets available to people who bought bad tickets.
However, those who bought legitimate tickets, only to have them stolen, were out of luck.
While Redmond waited to provide a description of the counterfeiters to authorities, he saw four people "raising Cain" in the conflict resolution center. Their tickets had been pickpocketed.
After Redmond got his second set of tickets, he started to attach them to a lanyard around his neck. Careful, an officer told him. They might get snatched. Redmond aimed toward a back pocket. Not there, either, the officer warned.
"He said tuck them in your shirt and button your shirt," Redmond said.
Despite spending $5,000 on tickets and a run-in with scofflaws, Redmond seemed amused by the experience.
He asked authorities if he could keep the bogus tickets as souvenirs.
"They wouldn't let me," he said.
Janet Zink can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3401.