A Midvale man claiming to be a relative of Utah Jazz star Bryon Russell has swindled three people out of about $1,500 by promising them a great deal on Jazz season tickets.
The man tells potential ticket-buyers that he is a cousin of Russell, Midvale Police Sgt. Tim Start said. The ticket deal he offers is $250 a seat for each of the seven season seats he claims to have.The suspect asks buyers to pay in cash, to pick him up at a downtown Salt Lake hotel and drive him to an apartment complex at 7400 S. State.
That's where he claims to be living with Russell, but he won't reveal the apartment number, saying he's protecting Russell's privacy. He then tells the buyer to wait in the car while he goes inside to pick up the tickets.
"Of course, he never comes back," Start said.
One Highland man waited more than 90 minutes for the man to return. So far, one man is out $500 and another turned over about $1,000.
"The guy is playing on the basketball player's notoriety, and the greed of others, to get the tickets sold," Start said. "But you know what happens, somebody hears about a good deal and then tells somebody at work and they want to get in on it."
Jazz spokesman Dave Allred said Russell is neither an acquaintance nor a relative of the suspect. But Russell has spoken with police about the matter, All-red said.
Start said police have been unable to locate the suspect.
"But we want the public to be aware of this and to prevent further scams," he said.
Anyone approached by anyone offering a similar Jazz ticket deal should contact the Midvale police at 265-4956.