A bogus tourism operator charged two out-of-towners $200 each-way to ride the Staten Island Ferry even though the trip hasn’t cost anyone a dime since 1997, the New York Post reported Saturday.
The paper reports there has been an uptick in Manhattan tourism scams but none as brazenly outrageous as the one involving one of New York City’s most popular attractions.
“This scheme with the Staten Island Ferry is something that recently exploded,” Joseph Puelo, the president of the Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, told the paper.
The ferry leaves from lower Manhattan and takes in the Statue of Liberty as it crosses New York Harbor to Staten Island.
On Wednesday career criminal Gregory Reddick was arrested after cops say one officer spotted him charging a couple of tourists $400 for round-trip tickets on the ferry.
The officer asked the 54-year-old Reddick for his ID and Parks permit. He then took off leading six officers on a chase that ended near the ferry terminal in The Battery. The officers subdued Reddick with pepper spray.
Cops said Reddick still had the $400 on him, but they weren’t able to return the cash to the scammed tourists. They had already split, the Post said.
The paper quoted one cop as saying they’ve gotten complaints from people saying they’ve been charged $25 to ride the ferry, “but this guy was charging $200 each way.”
The Post said Reddick is one of small army of unlicensed “ticket agents” who wear vests that say “SJQ Sightseeing.” The city Parks Department has issued no permit to SJQ and the firm is not registered to do business in New York State.
Last week, a local TV station exposed a vendor who had been charging tourists $30 for a hot dog. A city agency launched an investigation and the vendor was fired by his boss.
Reddick was freed without bail on a couple of resisting arrest charges. He is due back in court in July.
Online records show Reddick has served four sentences in state prison over the years.