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Tourists bought $400 tickets for free ferry ride

NEW YORK -- Two tourists from Virginia who fell victim to a ticket scam paid $409 for what should have been a free ride on New York's Staten Island Ferry, reports CBS New York.

The tourists fell for the fake fares allegedly offered to them by 54-year-old Gregory Reddick, who is accused of posing as a ticket agent, reports the station.

According to a criminal complaint, when a parks enforcement patrolman asked Reddick for his ID, the suspect reportedly shoved him, cursed and ran off. Officers apprehended him in New York City's Battery Park.

Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates, says the city needs to do a better job of patrolling public parks for scammers and unlicensed solicitors.

"What's really sad is that the city and the parks department have known about this for many years," Croft told the station. "We have an open air scalpers market. These people have no licenses."

Foreign tourists tell CBS New York that it's easy to get scammed if you're not careful.

"I could probably fall for it, but I wouldn't pay that much money for a ticket," said Madelene Viberd.

Officials say you should ask to see the seller's license before agreeing to buy anything.