Ticket-taker takes job too literally

Busch Gardens Europe employee arrested

August 4, 2006 - Devin Olson

Busch Gardens Europe, Williamsburg, VA, USA -

© Clint Novak
Caught in the Act: Guests enter Busch Gardens Europe after passing through the main turnstiles where employee Justin Sands stole unscanned tickets.
Finding tickets to a major theme park online for $10 may seem like a deal too beneficial to pass up, but just watch who you purchase tickets from.

Over $38,000 was potentially stolen from Busch Gardens Europe by an employee between the dates July 4 and 28, but now the man charged with the crime is behind bars. The crime? Felony embezzlement for stealing and reselling tickets for major discounts.

Twenty-one-year-old Justin Sands is charged with swiping guests' tickets without scanning them, then putting them up for sale online for up to a fifth of their maximum value. In all, the park estimates that he stole 734 tickets.

He was caught on July 28 and arrested by James City County police officers after a park security officer heard of the misappropriation and acted as an interested customer.

Sands told police he resold the tickets for $10 to $20. Single-day admission to Busch Gardens Europe is $51.95 for adults and $44.95 for children, making for a grand total of $38,131 stolen if all tickets had been sold by the park at full price.

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