Police arrested eight men Tuesday on scalping complaints outside Oklahoma City Arena before the Thunder's playoff win against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Six of the arrested men were cited and released at the scene, police Master Sgt. Gary Knight said. Eric Alfred Johnson, 54, of Cedar Hill, Texas, was taken to the Oklahoma County jail because he had an unrelated warrant, and Rickey E. Vick, 42, of Edmond, was booked into jail because police had previous contacts with him during scalping investigations, Knight said.
Johnson remained at the jail Wednesday on a hold for the warrant, jail records show. Vick was released on bail.
Members of the Oklahoma City police vice squad made the arrests before the game, which ended in a Thunder victory that tied their Western Conference semifinal series with the Grizzlies at one game apiece. Some undercover officers posed as buyers, and other arrests were made when the officers observed sales taking place, Knight said.
The price Tuesday of scalped tickets sold by the arrested men varied, but some were being sold at more than $200 over face value, Knight said. He wouldn't say how often officers enforce the scalping ordinance at Thunder games, but said there is a police presence at every game.
There is no state law against scalping tickets in Oklahoma, but Oklahoma City has an ordinance that makes it illegal to sell tickets for more than a 50 cent profit, Knight said.
Listing tickets online or elsewhere for sale at a profit is legal, but the sale is considered illegal scalping if the exchange of money takes place in a jurisdiction such as Oklahoma City with a local ordinance against it, Knight said.
Scalping incidents tend to increase at high-profile sporting events like Thunder playoff games, Thunder games against marquee opponents and NCAA men's basketball tournament contests, Knight said.