A North Carolina prankster is at large after handing out fake parking tickets with QR codes that link smartphones to the music video for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
Asheville's Transportation Director Ken Putnam says the culprit has been giving people fake parking tickets downtown, ABC 13 reported. The city is expecting more than 20,000 people to visit for the 2016 SoCon tournament.
The fake tickets had a fine of $100. The city’s normal fine is only $10. Only one person so far has come forward to try and pay the fake ticket.
“We told them, 'Hey, this is not ours,'” Putnam told ABC 13. “When someone first glances at the citation it does look official, but there are some key things when you start looking at it.”
The fake ticket is larger than the legitimate ones. It also had the wrong date, a fake officer ID and a made up violation code. A QR code was also seen on the fake ticket. The city’s tickets do not have QR codes.
“It was kind of surprising to go to a link for a YouTube video, and then when I went it was featuring some rock star that I didn't know who it was,” Putnam said.
That rock star was Rick Astley singing his infamous classic “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
“Oh, they're Rickrolling with tickets? That's atrocious,” said one visitor from Atlanta. “We got past the 80's, I thought. That's pretty bad. It's a waste of time.”
The humor was also lost on Parking Services Manager Harry Brown.
“It causes us extra work, causes aggravation for our citizens, and I really think somebody's doing it for a prank,” Brown told the news station. “I think it's just an aggravation, and somebody [...] wanting to get a little publicity, or say ha ha.”
Police say they can only charge the suspect with littering. Charges would get more serious if people paid the fake fines, but there is no real way to pay for the fake tickets.