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Old 05-19-2015, 07:40 PM   #1
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Man accused of selling bogus Rockets tickets to fans

A New York City man is in jail accused of selling bogus Rockets tickets to two fans who tracked him down and held him for police.

Dakota Wheeler and Carlos Bustamante answered a Craigslist ad offering tickets to Sunday's Game 7 between the Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers. They arranged to meet the seller outside a restaurant in Midtown in the 500 block of West Gray Street. They gave the man $1,100 cash for four tickets. But when they tried to get into the game, they were turned away.

"I asked the gentleman, 'Can you confirm that these are real?' He said, 'I'm sorry these are counterfeit," Bustamante said.

"We were pretty hot, we were mad," Wheeler said. "So we went back to where he was. We couldn't believe he was there."

They found the man who sold them the tickets, Jerry Small, 39, about a block from where they had left him. He was outside a cellphone store in the 2100 block of Smith Street, closing a $400 deal with another set of bogus tickets with a woman, Barbara Leon.

In a Facebook post, Leon said Bustamante and Wheeler left their car in the middle of the street and, 'ran like two superheroes to save the damsel in distress."

"I just grabbed him by the arms, neck and shoulder area," Bustamante. "He (Wheeler) grabbed him around the waist."

Together they held Smalls until police arrived while Leon snapped photographs.

The men said Small's essentially admitted he had passed their money off to an accomplice. They didn't get it back and they didn't get to see the Rockets whip the Clippers either. But they're OK with that.

"I'm glad we helped the lady out," Bustamante said.

Smalls is charged with misdemeanor theft. After Wheeler and Bustamante posted photos of him online, they say they heard from other fans who were also ripped off.

Anyone with information about Smalls is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

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