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'Hot' tickets for Kyle car race snagged in sting

Paul Michael Dejesus, 21, has been charged with theft, a second-degree felony, and is currently in the Travis County Jail on $200,000 bond.


To hear Full Throttle Production’s Tavo Hellmund tell it, the saga of stolen tickets to the March 14 Allstate Racefest auto racing event at Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle was almost as action-packed as the upcoming on-track racing action promises to be.

“I’m telling you,” Hellmund said Tuesday, “this whole deal unfolded just like those reality police shows you see on TV.”

Hellmund and his Full Throttle Productions business partner, Aryn White, had ordered tickets from a company in Georgia, but the tickets never arrived, even though the FedEx on-line tracking system showed that the shipment had been delivered.

After calling the ticket company and FedEx numerous times in a futile effort to locate the tickets, reportedly worth about $178,000, Full Throttle faced the reality that the tickets had most likely been stolen. So, Hellmund and White began checking various popular Internet sites featuring classified advertisements.

Hellmund said it didn’t take long before an ad for the “discounted” tickets showed up on Craigslist, a no-cost classified ad service popular with Internet users. The Austin Police Department (APD) was notified and a “sting” operation was set up to catch the culprit red-handed.

And just like in those reality shows, again according to Hellmund, the police and federal law enforcement officers responded to the ad, arranged to meet the unsuspecting suspect and, after two false alarms when the seller didn’t show up with the tickets, the third try was successful. The detectives met with the suspect near MoPac and Slaughter Lane on Feb. 10 and purchased four tickets, according to the arrest warrant.

Caught with his hand in the cookie jar, the suspect reportedly confessed and a warrant was obtained to search the suspect’s living quarters, where authorities found the rest the FedEx packages – some unpacked and some not – along with other mail that was not addressed to the suspect, according to published reports.

Paul Michael Dejesus, 21, has been charged with theft, a second-degree felony, and is currently in the Travis County Jail on $200,000 bond.

“In spite of the unusual circumstances, we plan on honoring any and all tickets that may have been purchased in good faith,” Hellmund said. “But if you know you are a victim of this scam, please contact the Austin Police Department since they are interested in obtaining as much evidence as they can to help convict this individual.

“The police are keeping the rest of the stolen tickets as evidence,” Hellmund continued, “so we have obtained new tickets that look nothing at all like the stolen ones. I want to emphasize that anyone who has purchased tickets through our Full Throttle Productions website need not worry, because tickets purchased on-line will be available at the ‘will call’ window at Thunderhill Raceway two or three hours before the gates officially open. And, as I said, we will be honoring tickets purchased in good faith by our race fans.”

The Allstate Racefest event will be held on Saturday, March 14, at the 3/8-mile paved, D-shaped Thunderhill Raceway oval in Kyle. Major sponsors include Allstate Insurance, NAPA Auto Parts, Mercedes Benz, Budweiser and South Side Wrecker Service.

For more information about Racefest, visit http://www.texasthunder200.com/racefest.html

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#1 Pingback By QUOTE CORNER : Newstreamz San Marcos On 02/21/2009 @ 9:46 pm

[…] Tavo Hellmund of Full Throttle Productions about the saga of stolen tickets to the Allstate Racefest to be held at Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle. – Read More >> […]

#2 Comment By Randy Wells Jr. On 03/14/2009 @ 8:19 pm

What I want to know is if the suspect ran, or if he was thrown to the ground and handcuffed? Or even perhaps a car chase? Lets see/ a 178,000 dollars worth of tickest at around 70.00 dollars a pop is around what? 250 tickets? So lets here the action!