Six men were arrested outside the Columbus Civic Center following a Sunday night concert after apparently selling counterfeit merchandise.
In Recorder’s Court Tuesday, Rickey Colson, 33, of Norwood, N.C., and Rodney Horn, 49, of Polkton, N.C., pleaded no contest to one count of operating a business without a license as two of the alleged peddlers. The suspects who posted a $347 bond prior to Tuesday’s Recorder’s Court hearing were Matthew Gordon, 49, of Ellenwood, Ga.; Eric Boggan, 37, of Norwood, N.C.; Milo Tyler, 35, of Charlotte, N.C.; and Keithon Watkins, 44, of Norwood, N.C.
Colson and Norwood were ordered to serve 20 days suspended upon the payment of $250.
Civic Center security and Columbus police working concert security were notified prior to the show by R&B singer Charlie Wilson’s merchandise team that there had been counterfeit shirts and other products sold at previous shows, Civic Center Director Ross Horner said Monday.
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Wilson, the former lead singer for The Gap Band, is on a multi-city tour and about 6,000 people attended the Columbus show. Prior to playing Columbus he was in Tampa where his merchandise people spotted vendors selling unauthorized T-shirts and other items, Horner said.
After Wilson’s Columbus show, according to police records and Horner, two men were seen in the Civic Center parking lot selling items to those leaving the arena.
Tyler and Colson were approached by security and police. Colson had multiple T-shirts and photographs in his possession, according to the police report. He also had $60.46 in cash, police said.
Tyler could not produce a business license and had $131 in cash, according to the report.
The men appeared to be working out of a van with North Carolina license plates. The van was stopped near the skate park on the west end of the South Commons. They were allegedly seen selling as people were leaving. Civic Center security and CPD went out there and police detained them.
Horn denied the accusation and said he left the area when he was told to do so.
“When he told me to leave, I left walking,” Horn said. “As soon as the guy that owns the van pulled out hollering and going on, I came back and that’s when I got caught up in it.”
Colson did not testify.
Staff writer Chuck Williams contributed to the report.