When buying drinks at Miami sporting events, fans can generally expect to make a few financial concessions — chiefly, eating the extra few dollars vendors tack onto food and drink purchases.
Selling ordinarily cheap beer for a few dollars more may seem like a scam to some fans, but on Sunday afternoon, a rogue beer vendor took surge pricing to criminal levels, according to police.
Nathaniel Collier, a 33-year-old walking vendor, was busted at Sunday’s Miami Dolphins game for charging a fan $724 for two beers, Miami-Dade police said.
As the Los Angeles Chargers robbed Fins fans of any hope for a win on Sunday — the team remains winless, by the way — Collier tried making off with hundreds of dollars from an unsuspecting fan, police said.
He grabbed the fan’s card and swiped it using a personal card reader, not the device the stadium provides to vendors, according to the police report. Shortly after the transaction was processed, the fan received an alert from his bank notifying him of the steep charge to his card. It also displayed the vendor’s name.
Collier was not working for Hard Rock Stadium nor the Dolphins, but for Rocket Man, a Kentucky-based subcontractor that employs walking vendors at major sporting events and concerts, according to a spokesman for Centerplate, a hospitality company that manages Hard Rock Stadium’s concessions.
Rocket Man’s vendors are recognizable by their lime-green uniforms.
He worked as a walking vendor at the stadium for more than a year, police said. He was fired following his arrest, Rocket Man said in a statement. The customer received a full refund, the company said.
“As the chosen provider of walking vendors across dozens of stadiums, we take the matter of security extremely seriously, and train and monitor our vendors to safeguard our customers,” the company said. “Our onsite supervisor contacted the authorities immediately upon learning of the overcharge on what was Mr. Collier’s unauthorized personal device.”
Collier faces charges of grand theft and using a skimming device, police said. He was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and issued a $10,000 bond.