MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Wild are going to the NHL playoffs, but police say they’re worried some fans are being taken for a ride.
Police believe there may be at least 40 cases of fraudulent tickets, and they think 28-year-old Ahmed Dahir of Burnsville is behind them.
Dahir was charged Thursday with theft by swindle, a penalty of up to five years with a possible $10,000 fine.
Officers say he was buying tickets online with a stolen credit card, then making multiple copies of the same e-ticket, then selling photocopies via Craigslist.
They say most of the buyers would meet him off Lyndale Avenue in south Minneapolis to pick up the tickets.
News that the Wild are playoff bound is exactly what 23-year-old Casey Cornell of Farmington loves to hear.
“As a fan it’s everything you could hope for,” Cornell said.
On Monday afternoon, Cornell started hoping he could find some tickets on Craigslist.
“That’s kind of what my tactic has always been. Don’t pay for overpriced tickets, and this time I got burned on it,” he said.
Cornell spotted a deal on Craigslist, the same day Bobby Blaha of Lakeville also saw one.
“$60 a piece for club level, which is like half price,” Blaha said.
So he bought the e-ticket and met the seller at a laundry mat, and that’s when he was taken to the cleaners.
“I thought it would be a good deal, a steal of a deal, and then I show up there and then it doesn’t work, it didn’t scan,” Blaha said.
Cornell had also met the same man he says told him he worked with 3M and had been awarded the tickets through work.
“When I showed up at the box office, there was police men waiting behind the box office,” Cornell said.
Sgt. Brian Sand of Minneapolis Police says this had been going on for months.
“There’s multiple victims, maybe up to 40 victims from Wild games, Vikings games, concert tickets,” Sand said.
They set up a sting operation at the laundromat, and say after a foot chase, they have their man.
And while some are cutting their losses, they are focusing on a win.
“At least they’re in the playoffs,” Blaha said.
The Wild did offer victims discounted authentic tickets. The team suggests people buy through TicketMaster or Ticket Exchange, as tickets will be in high demand in the coming days.
Officers say if you buy them from someone selling in-person at a game, make sure they escort you to the scanner to verify that they are good.