LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – This weekend a Louisville couple was arrested on accusations of selling counterfeit coupons at the zoo, and it’s all thanks to a Good Samaritan who saw the duo in the parking lot and informed authorities.
"We had a patron come to our admission window and give us a tip that there were some folks in the parking lot selling what she thought might be counterfeit tickets," Kyle Shepherd with the Louisville Zoo, said. "The counterfeit sheets were a membership benefit for our family plus members and it's basically a sheet of guest passes."
Christopher and Amanda Bayens have been arrested for theft by deception and criminal possession of forged instrument. The coupons they were selling were part of a package for the zoo’s “Family Plus Members” and had a value of $42.90. The Bayens were selling them for only $10 and had 53 sheets in their possession for a total value of $2,273.70.
The good news for the zoo is not all the pages were sold, so they only lost $95.70.
Shepherd said that this sort of fraud doesn’t happen often at the zoo, but as luck would have it they have already put the necessary steps in place to get more modern ticket technology.
"We're sending out a letter this week to our members to communicate and let them know that those passes are no longer valid,” she explained. “What they need to do is on their next visit in bring those passes in we'll exchange them, they’re valid for them, we'll exchange them for one with a barcode. We were moving in the electronic barcode direction with our member benefits anyway."
The updated system gets even better as members in the future won’t have to keep track of any papers to redeem the zoo’s special promotions.
"In the near future with our new POS system, our point of sale system, it will be electronically attached to your membership,” Shepherd said. “So you won't have any pieces of paper or passes to exchange it'll just be attached to your membership and you just come in and it'll be deducted from your membership."
Workers at the zoo are excited that the old fashioned coupons are going away. With the barcodes and additional technology, they won’t be susceptible to fraudulent coupons or tickets, and with a simple scan and beep, they can keep the lines moving.
“I'm very excited because first it's faster and more efficient for us and our guests to get them through,” worker Megan Clower said. “We don't have to keep checking ID's and all that so definitely faster and more efficient for us."
Still, the zoo does want to keep warning the public to watch out for fraudulent tickets, especially to the Brew at the Zoo event that is coming up in August.
“We are sold out right now,” Shepherd said. “It's a very popular event and we've seen a lot of tickets in the past on ‘craigslist’ so just be leery if you're buying off ‘craigslist.’ We just want to let folks know and remind folks that we always encourage them to purchase any kind of ticket from us or an authorized seller."