Oklahoma City police officers confronted a man for charging drivers to park on a public street Sunday.
News 9 reporter Michael Konopasek witnessed the crime during the Open Streets OKC festival near N.W. 23rd and Robinson. Police tell News 9 that officers have the right to issue a citation for $760 or file a felony complaint against a suspect for obtaining money under false pretenses.
"We've seen cases before, particularly in Bricktown," MSgt. Gary Knight said.
Over the final weekend of March, the parking scam was an issue in Uptown. A man, who identified himself as an employee at 23rd Street Vapes, spent the better part of Sunday afternoon charging drivers $5 to park on N.W. 23rd Street.
"He tried to charge about three of my customers while I was doing their hair," hair stylist Ashay Dennis told News 9.
Konopasek was told to pay $5 to park on the public street. He refused to pay. The employee then said Konopasek's car would be towed. Konopasek warned the man to stop taking advantage of people, but the scam continued. Konopasek contacted police and took cell phone video of the encounter.
Officer: "[We received a tip that you're] blocking a city street and then charging people to park in front of your store."
Store Clerk: "They were doing it next-door, so I did it as well."
Store Clerk: "If he parks here … even if it's an event, I say I'm going to have his car removed by a tow truck."
Officer: "It's a city street. You don't own the street … You can't do that, and especially you can't be charging people."
News 9 attempted to locate the clerk on Monday to ask how much money he stole under false pretenses, but his shop was closed.
"I don't really know how much money, but he was out there for at least two to three hours," said Dennis.
Police say trust your gut. If something seems fishy, call 911.
"Err on the side of caution," said Knight. "That's what police officers are there for."
Some business owners admit it is not uncommon for them to block off areas in front of their stores, but they aren't allowed to unless they have prior permission from the city.