Santa Cruz police make arrest in fake parking ticket scam

Close-up of the back a Santa Cruz police cruiser, with caution tape
(Via Santa Cruz Police Department)

SCPD arrested 19-year-old Damian Vela on Thursday after he admitted to issuing false tickets to parked vehicles in the beach area. He was transported to jail.

Santa Cruz police have arrested a 19-year-old Watsonville resident who admitted to issuing fake parking tickets to vehicles near the beach.

Santa Cruz Police Department say that several vehicle owners parked close to the beach on Wednesday evening received fraudulent parking tickets. The fake tickets included a QR code that directed people to a bogus website to complete payments.

fake tix
(Via Santa Cruz Police Department)

Police arrested Damian Vela, 19, on Thursday. Officers searched Vela’s car and found evidence related to the scam. Vela admitted to issuing the fake citations, but denied receiving any payments, police said.

Vela was taken into custody on charges of “unlawful use of a computer system and attempted fraud.”

Police say they don’t know how many fake tickets the scammer issued or how many people paid the bogus citations. Detectives are urging more victims to come forward.

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