"(The tickets) are fraudulent and they're no good. You're not going to get let into the game," Detective Melanie Frazier with the Kent Police Department said of some of the tickets investigators have seen. "They look legitimate. They have the scan code. They look real; however, what we've learned is that these tickets have been reproduced."
Frazier says victims have come forward in Seattle, Portland, and Kennewick, and that there may be victims are far away as New York City. All of the victims bought tickets on Craigslist and appear to come from a season ticket holder, she said. Most realize, upon calling the team's ticket office, the seats are not legitimate.
One of the victims is Maggie Bruns, a die-hard Seahawks fan from Seattle who bought her tickets on Craigslist a few weeks ago. She met the seller at a local restaurant, and even brought two other fans with her to eyeball the tickets - and for her security.
"(The sellers) were so quick to get back to me and wanted to meet that night. I went within the hour," she said. "Looking back on it, that should've been a clear warning signal, but I was too excited about getting tickets."
Bruns plunked down $350 cash for a pair of tickets and held onto them for a short while before deciding to re-sell them online. She hoped to make a small profit and get better seats, she said, which was working out well until a potential buyer asked for a photo.
"I sent him a picture and his response was just, 'How do I have the exact same seats?' and I was just completely shocked," she said. "I had no idea what he was talking about. He sent me a picture of his tickets and they were identical: row, seats, even the bar code, bar code number. Everything was identical."
Frazier said that's how detectives have tied the cases together: all of the seats have the same information, down to the bar code.
"Unfortunately these seats in particular have been sold, yes, all over the country," she said. "That tells you how important and big of a game that this is coming up."
Frazier spent Thursday out-of-state trying to track down whoever is behind this, while the team urged fans to use the Ticket Exchange, the only online ticket resale site affiliated with the Seahawks.
"The Seahawks can only guarantee success if fans use the approved ticketing partners," team spokeswoman Suzanne Lavender said in an email. "The team communicates throughout the season with season ticket holders about the value and reiterates the need to maintain control of their tickets. If season ticket holders forward, reprint or sell their tickets, the originals become invalid. Any fraudulent ticket activity could lead to permanent loss of ticket privileges."
Bruns, meantime, said she was still working to get to the game on Sunday - with a new pair of tickets.
"I'm still working on it," she said. "Even if I don't get tickets I'll still be down there to tailgate."