Police identify alleged Craigslist ticket scammer

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on November 9, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 9 at 10:09 PM

FORT WORTH -- When Sam Vykukal saw the picture, her heart skipped a beat.

"I knew it was him immediately. I knew it was him," she said.

The picture she was looking at was a mugshot being circulated by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department of a man wanted for forgery. She knew him as "Mike Miller." But police know him as Robert Grusczynski.

And they know him well.

He's been arrested many times, mostly in Florida, on drug charges, driving with a revoked license, domestic battery, even being a felon in possession of a firearm. Montgomery County opened an investigation after five people reported buying fake Justin Bieber tickets from him. They recognized his picture from a news story.

Sam Vykukal bought her tickets from "Miller" in October in Dallas. She drained her bank account for the tickets her granddaughter so desperately wanted. She even asked "Miller" to pose for a picture so she could show seven-year-old Hailey who helped make her dream come true.

The tickets turned out to be fake. When we put that photo on the news, victims across Texas came forward. Vykukal is now helping detectives build a case.

"They want all the evidence," she said. "They wanted to know if I still had the picture and the text messages."

She stressed it's not about revenge, but about justice.

"He's going to be caught so he'll never be able to do this again," Vykukal said.

Detectives are offering a $1,000 reward for a tip that leads to Grusczynski's arrest or indictment. Vykukal wants all of Texas to be on the lookout.

Ticketmaster and the Better Business Bureau warn consumers Craigslist is not the place to buy tickets.

"It's just a big marketplace. You don't really know who is on the other end of the ad," said Jeannette Kopko, Senior Vice President of Communications for the BBB of Metropolitan Dallas. "Ideally you should be dealing with an established business that you know you can find again."

Another hot ticket is about to go on sale -- Taylor Swift's spring concert at Cowboys Stadium. Kopko said there are warnings to look out for for consumers who do choose to buy online.

"One red flag is using a distress or sympathy pitch," she said. "Something like, 'I lost my job,' or 'My wife is sick and I really need the money.' That's a red flag right there.

"Another red flag is when they price the item below what the market really is, because they're trying to make you think you're getting a good deal," she added. "You're blinded to your gut feeling."

That's exactly how Vykukal describes the tactics she fell for. Eventually, generous News 8 viewers gave her and her granddaughter genuine tickets.

"Hailey had the time of her life," Vykukal said. "Now it's grandma's time. It's my time. It's time to make him always remember what he not only did to Hailey, but what he did to everybody."

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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