Approximately 300 counterfeit Ticketron tickets, which may have been part of a 20,000-ticket set allegedly stolen last month from a print shop, were used Friday night at the Washington Hilton Hotel's closed-circuit telecast of the Larry Holmes-Gerry Cooney WBC heavyweight match, according to D.C. Police.
About 250 persons with tickets were turned away Friday night when fire marshals ordered the doors closed. Refunds of $35 and $40 were issued until 1:15 a.m., and an estimated 45 police officers were summoned to the scene to maintain order.
Robert Harvey Whitley of 1302 Emerson St. NW and Samuel Carter of 1815 17th St. NW were arrested Friday and charged with possession of 88 of the stolen tickets, which were taken from Arnold Graphics in Hagerstown, Md., approximately six weeks ago, according to Sgt. Ray Croghan, an investigator with the Third Police District. The two were arrested after Whitley allegedly attempted to sell tickets to an undercover officer, police said.
The confiscated tickets were printed for use at the D.C. Armory-Starplex, the other Washington site for viewing the fight via closed circuit. An Armory spokesman reported no problems with counterfeit tickets during the fight, which was not sold out, and called the crowd "very orderly."
But Burtell Jefferson, former D.C. police chief and a member of the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission.
Jefferson showed a reporter counterfeit tickets that were used to gain admission at the Hilton. In addition, he showed tickets similar in appearance to the fight tickets that were actually for a concert by the Whispers at Constitution Hall. That concert was the weekend of May 28 and tickets cost $12 and $14. The Ticketron tickets for the Whispers concert and those for the fight were the same size, with identical blue-and-orange borders and the same style computer printouts.
The Hilton rented its ballroom the other Shady Grove Music Fair company of Philadelphia to produce the fight telecast, according to Hilton management, and the hotel was not involved in logisitics such as security and ticket-takers for the telecast. Lee Guber and Rick Gross, the Shady Grove representatives at the Hilton Friday night, could not be reached for comment.
"All we did was let them show the fight," said Raymond Adams, a Hilton assistant manager.