The Oklahoma City Thunder officials are looking into a scam after an unidentified man was able to get three people past security and ticket-takers and into suite-level seats.
Jack Harrison, 30, of Blanchard, said he was skeptical at first when a man approached him Tuesday night outside Chesapeake Energy Arena with an offer of suite tickets to the sold-out game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Harrison went to the arena with a friend and a family member in hopes of getting some last-minute tickets to the game.
He said they eventually decided to go with the man and another man, who said they were promoters for the game and had family on the Lakers' team. The man said he would take them to the suite seats before they paid him.
“These guys had a badge or a ticket around their necks that said VIP,” he said. “We walked up to the ticket-taker, and he told them he was going to show us the suites, and they let us all pass.”
Harrison said the man was able to get them past another set of ticket-checkers and two security officers before sitting them in three seats in the Cox suite.
“This guy got us through three levels of security,” Harrison said. “After all that, we thought it was legitimate. I handed him the $300 and he said he would go get our tickets and asked if we wanted any drinks.”
A few minutes later the actual ticket holders showed up and Harrison and his companions were forced to move. They found the man who had promised them the tickets, and he said he had made a mistake and found three other suite seats. Again he promised he would go get their tickets.
“We watched most of the first quarter but then the people with those tickets showed up and I knew we had been scammed,” Harrison said. “When we tried to find the guy after that, he was nowhere to be found.”
Harrison said he reported the incident to the arena staff and was told they would look into it, but he would have to leave since he didn't have tickets.
Dan Mahoney, the Thunder's vice president of corporate and community relations, said Wednesday no one should be able to get past the turnstiles without a ticket, escorted or not.
“I've never heard of anything like this,” he said. “You shouldn't buy tickets from someone off the street. The only safe and authentic way is through the Thunder ticket office and resale options, but we'd still like to know more about how they got into the building and past security.”
Mahoney said the arena staff will check video surveillance from Tuesday's game to try and identify the man who took the money from Harrison.
Harrison said he knows he should've been more cautious and doesn't expect a refund, but he hopes his experience can serve as a warning for others.
“It is my fault that we never did get handed tickets,” he said. “I just want to help see that it doesn't happen to anyone else.”