Some of the counterfeit Giants tickets seized by the NYPD. Credit: NYPD
An NYPD sergeant was injured while pursuing an alleged ticket scalper Tuesday afternoon, but still managed to nab the suspect, police said.
A total of three people were arrested for selling counterfeit Giants tickets, police said. Two of the suspects have rap sheets that include loaded firearm possession.
The Anti-Crime Unit at the 17th Precinct in Midtown East was tipped off to the scam by a buyer who had actually taken a photo of the person who sold him counterfeit Giants tickets.
A plainclothes officer set up a meeting with the alleged seller in the lobby of a Midtown office building, police said. She told him she wanted tickets to this Sunday's Giants vs. Cowboys game at Met Life Stadium.
A sergeant waiting outside the building during the meet noticed two apparent accomplices waiting in a Toyota. He recognized the man in the passenger seat as the person from the photo, police said.
The pair appeared to notice the arrest of their friend going down inside the lobby, and drove off. The sergeant chased after them on foot and was able to catch up to them at a red light. He took the driver's keys and, as he noticed a stack of counterfeit tickets in the car and radioed for backup, the man in the passenger seat bolted from the car and dashed down Third Avenue.
The sergeant chased after the fleeing passenger, police said, sprinting down Third Avenue to East 42nd Street. As the sergeant closed in, the runner darted between two parked cars and dashed into traffic.
The sergeant ran into the street after him and was hit by a car, police said. His radio went flying, but a civilian apparently brought it over to him. Lying prone on the ground, he radioed the direction in which the man was running and called for an ambulance for himself.
A lieutenant from the 17th precinct followed the sergeant's directions and caught the suspect a short distance away, police said.
The sergeant was taken to Bellevue in stable condition, and has already been treated and released, police said.
Officers responding to the sergeant's call for backup arrested the driver, who had remained pulled over where the sergeant had left him when he dashed off with the man's keys to chase down his partner.
Police identified the arrested men as Noel Cleaver, 25, who was grabbed in the lobby of the office building during the planned meet; Sergio Mercado, 23, the driver of the car the sergeant stopped; and Shawndale Lewis, 27, the man who fled and was apprehended by the lieutenant.
Police said Cleaver and Lewis both have rap sheets that include charges for loaded firearm possession, robbery and selling counterfeit tickets to sports games. Cleaver had tried to sell the officers the tickets for more than $100, a law enforcement official said.
Police did not release the sergeant's name, but said he is 48 years old and a 26-year veteran of the force.