Yesterday close to a dozen SJQ Sightseeing Tours personnel worked in front of the Bowling Green subway station soliciting customers. The tour group is not registered to do business in New York State and has no valid Parks Department permit to sell tickets. The tourist scam has been operating in broad daylight for years ripping off customers with little or no interference from authorities. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.
By Geoffrey Croft
A team of illegal ticket sellers has been preying on unsuspecting tourists for years, NYC Park Advocates has learned.
The ticket scalpers are working in some of the most heavily visited downtown tourist destinations - Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry, and Pier 15, (South Street Seaport)
The unscrupulous scammers sell Statue of Liberty tickets for between $ 80 - 100 dollars: re-sell used Statue of Liberty tickets: Sell people tickets to the Staten Island Ferry and charge people $ 20 just to enter Battery Park, a public park on the tip of Manhattan.
The group wear dark blue official looking tourist operator vests that say, SJQ Sightseeing Tours.
SJQ stands for South Jamaica Queens.
On the Look Out. The ubiquitous SJQ Sightseeing Tour group has been a fixture for years working in lower Manhattan.
They have been a fixture in lower Manhattan operating in broad daylight for years.
On Wednesday career criminal Gregory Reddick, 54, of 118 Road in Jamaica Queens, was busted after leading park police on a wild chase in lower Manhattan.
Parks Enforcement Patrol officer Jean-Baptist Joseph, 33, saw Reddick on Pier 15 as he was allegedly in the act of conning tourists out of cash.
The PEP officer approached Reddick and ask him for ID. He refused cursed at him and ran away.
The officer called for back up. PEP officers tracked him down a half mile away in Battery Park.
Another officer approached the con and asked him for ID.
"F*ck off off, I ain't givin you shit," he responded, according to an officer at the scene.
He ran, and the officers caught up to him. He resisted arrest and officers maced him twice in order to get him to comply.
A large group of Reddick's associates formed during the arrest, yelling and screaming.
An NYPD officer in the park said that on Monday - two days before Reddick's arrest - he had received a compliant that Reddick had sold two tickets to the Statue of Liberty to a Virginia couple for $ 409 dollars.
"The US Park police also told us they have also been getting a lot of complaints that these SJQ guys are getting aggressive and forcing people to buy tickets," a PEP officer said.
Reddick told law-enforcement sources he made $ 3000 the day he was caught. He had $ 400 cash on him at the time of his arrest.
Two Park Enforcement Patrol officers were assigned to the area after an SJQ Sightseeing Tours employee was arrested.
Reddick’s arrests date to the 80's and include six felony convictions, multiple burglary and criminal possession of stolen property convictions, law-enforcement sources said.
On Wednesday he was charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration In The Second Degree, Resisting Arrest, Unlawful Vending in a New York City Park, and Disorderly Conduct.
SJQ Sightseeing Tours is not registered to do business in New York State and has no valid Parks Department permit to sell tickets.
New York Post - May 30, 2015 - By Rich Calder