Alabama fans help Tampa police catch man suspected of selling fake tickets

Joseph Stevens Escalera

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Alabama Crimson Tide fans helped Tampa police catch a man suspected of selling phony tickets to Monday night’s championship game at Raymond James Stadium.

TPD investigators say Roy Gentry and Bryant Gentry traveled to Tampa for the College National Championship Game. While here, they bought tickets to the game after seeing an ad on Craigslist.

Police say they bought the tickets from Joseph Stevens Escalera on January 8. Later that evening, the victims realized the tickets they purchased were counterfeit.

The next day, police say Roy and Bryant Gentry contacted Escalera and posed as new customers wanting to buy tickets.

The victims then met again with Escalera and held him, then called for police assistance.

Escalera was arrested at the scene. Police say he had six counterfeit game tickets with him.

Police say Escalera admitted to the offense and told them he had more tickets in his hotel room at the Hilton Garden Inn on 9th Av East.

TPD Detectives responded and conducted a search warrant on the hotel room where they found 24 more counterfeit game tickets and $1,700 in cash.

Escalera was charged with Fraudulent Possession of Admission Tickets and Grand Theft and taken to Booking. Escalera lives in Orlando. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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