Like everybody else who grew up in the 60's and 70's, I've gotten most of my legal knowledge from watching broadcast television. So, it probably comes as no big surprise that everything I knew about ticket scalping laws wasn't entirely accurate (as in, not at all).
Last night at the Paul McCartney concert, we covered a police undercover operation targeting the ticket scalpers that regularly do business outside of stadiums and arenas like Staples Center.
(no, I didn't get to see the concert)
We started the night at LAPD roll call and got the whole rundown on how the operation should go. We were cautioned quite a few times to be careful about not videotaping the undercover cops. I understand. The officers working undercover don't need the additional stress and concern.
In the remote chance that the bad guys happen to be regular viewers of our newscast, they might spot an undercover officer.
Yeah. That could happen.
The scalping laws are designed to prohibit people from operating a ticket scalping business. You aren't breaking the law if you sell off an extra ticket because your date/brother-in-law/goofy neighbor stood you up. You won't be arrested and miss the event completely and you won't have to act as your own lawyer to defend yourself in court.
We all know that's just completely opposite of what happens if you apply sitcom logic.
Not all of the people in this picture are known scalpers. Some are. We stood in the window of Jerry Buss' office and watched as they approached people and tried to make deals.
For the record, I was not the person responsible (this time) for breaking the bulb in the overhead light that wouldn't turn off. It was a cop who did it.
The cops busted about nine people before we had to go edit and prepare for our liveshot. Most were pretty mellow about being caught. Some were a little more belligerent (woo, especially when we videotaped them being processed). I don't worry too much about the threats and harsh language. You know, sticks and stones and all that.
One thing the reporter pointed out to me that I hadn't considered? The fine or bail for scalping is pretty low. Maybe as low as a hundred bucks. The guys being arrested could possibly be out of jail and back over to Staples before our last liveshot. The chance of any of them coming back to look for us was pretty slim, but I wrapped up and moved on.
A guy threatening to beat up someone and actually coming back to do it? I think I saw that happen on "Barney Miller" once.