Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – VIP tickets, backstage passes and a chance to meet a famous singer, all for a bargain price.
Jacqui Marano says a ticket seller made her offers she couldn’t refuse for Bret Michaels and WeFest tickets.
But she says none of what he sold her was real, and now she’s out thousands of dollars.
“Everybody in the group was supposed to get VIP passes, backstage passes, and drinks with Bret Michaels on his bus. That’s what all of us were told and not one of us got them,” said Marano.
In all, 16 people in all were left in the dark. Marano says she believes he made fake backstage passes using the name of a production company and substituting a fake phone number.
Because Marano knew him, she trusted him. Now she may be out more than $12,000.
Because he has not been charged in this case, WCCO is not identifying his name, but the alleged ticket salesman has a history of theft dating back to the mid-’90s. He is currently being investigated in both Chisago and Isanti counties.
“He has not intended to pay anybody back anything,” said Julie Vaagenes, who says the man actually stole her identity and, for an encore, charged $16,000 to her credit card. “He will do anything for anybody, but it’s with other people’s money. He buys your trust.”
The alleged ticket seller did not return WCCO’s e-mails or calls.
After the incident, Bret Michaels band changed the policy to sell VIP passes during the day of their concert.
Police say it’s best to buy tickets through an actual ticket company to avoid situations like this, which they say are surprisingly common.