Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Lollapalooza: Suburban man tried to sell stolen all-access, VIP passes to undercover cops, police say

David Puralewski is charged with trying to sell stolen Lollapalooza VIP passes to undercover cops. | Wikicommons; CPD
David Puralewski has filled his Facebook page with scores of photos and videos that seem to show him enjoying backstage and VIP access at concerts and sporting events across America.

But last Wednesday, the night before the first day of Lollapalooza, Puralewski was arrested after he allegedly tried to sell a collection of VIP and all-access passes for Lolla to undercover cops in the Loop. Some of the credentials would have allowed the bearers to avoid security screening and enter restricted access areas of the concert, according to court records.

It’s quite a story for a guy who identifies himself as a self-employed handrail repair expert.

Around 8 p.m. on August 1st, undercover officers from the Chicago Police Department’s organized crime unit met with Puralewski at the Blackstone Hotel, 630 South Michigan Avenue, according to court records.

Police say the 39-year-old displayed a variety of Lollapalooza passes and offered to sell them to the cops. He had four 4-day band backstage passes, four 4-day promoter guest passes, eight other 4-day backstage passes, and seventeen 4-day general admission passes, according to cops.

Puralewski was arrested about 20 minutes after the meeting began.

Puralewski dons a C3 Presents hat and "special guest" pass at the 2016 NFL draft
Authorities said Puralewski stole the identity of a man to obtain the passes from C3 Presents, the company that produces seven Lollapalooza shows worldwide as well as other major festivals such as Austin City Limits.

Police said Puralewski told them that he did not know the Lolla passes were stolen.

Once in custody, police found Puralewski in possession of a notebook containing a ledger of transactions, “bulk currency,” an Illinois ID card and three Texas ID cards, according to a criminal complaint. C3 Presents is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Prosecutors charged him with felony identity theft and theft of $10,000 to $100,000 by deception. Judge David Navarro set bail at $25,000, which allowed Puralewski to go free by posting a deposit of $2,500.

On Facebook, Puralewski has posted videos and photos that were apparently taken from VIP access points during concerts and other major events in Chicago and across the country. In some images, he is wearing a “C3 Presents” baseball hat.

According to Chicago Police Department records, Puralewski was arrested at the United Center at 9 p.m. July 1, 2017, during a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. He was charged with trespassing and police took possession of an all-access pass and lanyard, according to court records. Puralewski was found not guilty in a bench trial by Judge Robert Kuzas.

In his arrest report, police listed Puralewski’s job as a “self-employed construction company owner.” On Facebook, Puralewski lists his job as the owner of “Railing Restoration Experts.”

A police department spokesperson declined to detail how Puralewski went about obtaining the passes or say if Puralewski had any relationship with C3 Presents.

Security was ramped up at this year's four-day Lollapalooza event following the October 2017 mass shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. The gunman in the Vegas crime, Stephen Paddock, reportedly had a reservation at the Blackstone Hotel during last year's Lollapalooza event, but he never showed up.

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