09/09/2010 11:22 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Con Games: Police State in Denver

There aren't too many things that make me want to blow my stack on the way to a ballgame but being an unwitting dirtbag in a police sting operation is one of them.

I digress: I should really just say that I'm pissed about what happened to me and hundreds of other unsuspecting football fans when we attempted to take the light rail to Invesco Field to see Colorado play Colorado State. Truth be told I had never been on the Denver light rail before and I was psyched to be riding a mere two stops from Union Station to the stadium. We jumped on a train because we saw Buffalo gold and we got off only to be stopped at the turnstile by a Wackenhut security officer because we had not bought our tickets.

No problem, right: a ticket booth was open and in operation a few feet away and my wife and I purchased a pair of round-trip ducats which we then presented to one of the dozen or so Wackenhuts manning the turnstiles.

Not so fast, he said: you need one of those yellow pieces of paper over there.

We presented ourselves to another Wackenhut guard, who proceeded to write us a warning for petty theft that included all our driver's license information. That's right: even though we had our tickets and we had paid, we were being all but accused of theft for the $4 round trip.
I was pissed because they could have had one guard at Union Station making sure everyone had bought a ticket. I was pissed because people with tickets were going through unscathed at the far end of the Invesco stop. I was pissed because it was hot enough to fry an egg on the bald Wackenhut guard's head. But I was mainly pissed because this was a scam to employ way too many guards for no good reason.

Consider what happens in major cities everywhere when your fare card has less value than your fare: the card pops back up and you are told to go put more money on the card. I don't see how this was much different. Need a ticket? You can buy it over there. No big deal.
But no. For reasons unknown the powers that be in Denver have decided that hundreds of people who take the train to Invesco are trying to avoid paying the fare, presumably because they're already shelling out hundreds of dollars for game tickets.

Shame on you, Denver. Next time this happens please stop me before I whack a Wackenhut-hut-hut.