SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) — A suspect was arrested after authorities received reports of fake citations issued Wednesday evening to parked vehicles near the beach, the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) announced in a press release. Damian Vela, a 19-year-old Watsonville resident, was arrested around 4 p.m. Thursday when he admitted to the crime but denied receiving any payments.
The scam citations (pictured above) had a QR code that led potential victims to a website for payment. As of Friday afternoon, it is unknown how many fake citations were issued or how many victims paid the “bogus citations,” police said.
At the time of Vela’s arrest, police also searched his vehicle and found evidence used in the scam. Vela was booked into jail for “unlawful use of a computer system and attempted fraud.”
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Any additional victims are encouraged to contact SCPD’s Investigations Unit at 831-420-5820. Police said if you’re not sure if a parking ticket is legitimate, call the city’s parking office at 831-420-6100 or visit the parking office at 124 Locust St.