All-Star Game: Police clamp down on scalpers

Scalpers and counterfeit merchandise hawkers beware: You’re on notice.

With tickets for All-Star weekend running just shy of $2,000 on Craigslist, Major League Baseball and local and federal law enforcement agencies will clamp down on ticket scalping and illegal production and sale of counterfeit merchandise when baseball’s heaviest hitters, slickest fielders and nastiest pitchers arrive in The City beginning next week.

Counterfeiters prey on big-time events such as the Super Bowl, a World Series game or an All-StarGame, hoping to rake in big dollars from impulsive fans looking for a quick souvenir to remember the event, officials said.

Throughout All-Star weekend, which runs July 6-10, undercover investigators will look for illegal merchandise at AT&T Park, the Moscone Center and manufacturing facilities, retail stores and sidewalk vendors in and around The City, according to Major League Baseball.

In the last six months, Major League Baseball has seized 493,000 units of merchandise — apparel, hats, jerseys, T-shirts, jewelry, baseball cards and key chains, among other types — from counterfeiters, said Ethan Orlinsky, the senior vice president and general counsel for Major League Baseball Properties. At one Manhattan store alone, they seized 40,000 illegally produced hats, he said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated 750,000 American jobs have been lost to counterfeiters, and the illegal activity also cost legitimate businesses $250 billion annually, Orlinsky said.

Fines for producing, selling, importing, smuggling or trafficking counterfeit materials can run up to $2 million with up to 10 years in prison, according to Major League Baseball.

But counterfeiters who come from all over the globe, as do the fans, specifically target highly publicized events such as the All-Star Game, Orlinsky said.

“They’re taking advantage of people coming in town that wouldn’t know the difference between something that’s real or fake,” San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens said.

Gittens said San Francisco police would not only help out with counterfeiting issues, but also with ticket scalping as plainclothes officers work with the U.S. Secret Service and Major League Baseball to stymie the activity.

Orlinsky said when buying tickets through an alternate vendor, it’s “buyer beware.”

“If you’re going to buy a ticket on a secondary market, know who your selleris,” he said.


Get all the latest news and features at Examiner.com's special “2007 MLB All-Star Game ” section.


dsmith@examiner.com

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