OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - A man accused of scamming people out of theme park tickets has been arrested, deputies said.
Deputies said the man would go into a Publix and take tickets off the rack and then sell them online inactivated.
"I'm sure those people saved up a lot of money and then they come to Orlando," park-goer Toni Houck said. "It's terrible. I can't even imagine."
Deputies arrested Robert Hadley after they said he scammed at least 55 people out of theme park tickets. They said he started the fake ticket sales back in January and he would go inside the store and grab Universal Studio tickets by the handful.
"You don't buy a ticket from someone on the street. You buy them at a counter where they're suppose to be selling them," one park-goer said.
Detectives said after Hadley stole the tickets, he'd post an ad on Craigslist and resell them. The arrest report said he would go to the local library and print fake receipts to show to his victims, and when the victims would call back, he had an app that would deactivate the line.
Officials said Hadley also stole tickets to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. They believe the loss for victims and the parks is somewhere around $30,000.
Universal Studios said in a statement, "We take the illegal sale of our tickets very seriously and work closely with law enforcement on this issue. Only buy tickets from reputable sources and if you have any doubts, contact us directly."
Officials said when they arrested Hadley, he told them his addiction to crack cocaine drove him to sell the tickets.
"I just wouldn't buy them on Craigslist," park-goer Andrew Rush said. "I would buy them at the parks, rather than trying to get a little discount and know all your money went to waste."
Publix employees said each ticket sold comes with an activation receipt. When you do buy a ticket from the store, save the activation receipt and show it at the park for verification.
Universal Studios told News 6 to only buy tickets from reputable sources and if you have any doubts, contact them directly. Remember that their tickets are non-transferable. If a ticket appears to be partially used or if the seller tries to tell you what to say at the front gate if you are questioned, then the ticket is likely not valid.
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