RIDICULOUS--if someone thinks she is hot enough(and she's NOT!) to give up his tickets for a 5 minute grind--so be it--
Ticket seeker's pitch runs afoul of police
By Kathy Boccella
Inquirer Staff Writer
If they ever invented a version of catnip for the human male, it would probably have something to do with sex . . . and World Series tickets.
So when a 43-year-old, self-described "gorgeous tall buxom blonde" from Philadelphia seemed to offer one for the other in an ad on the Web site Craigslist, it was guaranteed to capture the attention of men throughout the region - including the Bensalem police.
After setting up a sting in a Bensalem bar on Monday night, police say they arrested Susan Finkelstein, 43, who lives in West Philadelphia and works at the Wistar Institute.
She allegedly had posted a Sex-and-the-Series ad saying she was a loyal Phillies fan in need of two World Series tickets. The posting said that the price was negotiable, and that "I'm the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!"
A Bensalem undercover officer who responded to the ad asked Finkelstein to meet him at the bar.
Once there, "she said she would trade sexual favors for Phillies tickets," Bensalem's safety director, Fred Harran, said yesterday. "She wanted the tickets at any cost and was willing to go the extra mile."
In the time it takes Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to turn a double play, Bensalem officers arrested Finkelstein and charged her with soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor.
Her reaction? "She realized she wasn't going to the World Series," said Harran - who is a native New Yorker, by the way.
To be sure, last-minute Series tickets aren't cheap. The Web site StubHub was offering seats for tonight's opening game in Yankee Stadium at anywhere from $249 to $9,500 - and more for the games that follow.
Police seemed a bit chagrined at the widespread interest in the case. A Bensalem sergeant mistakenly sent out a news release and scheduled a news conference that attracted media from as far away as New York, Harran said.
By the time Harran realized what had happened, it was too late to call off the news conference. Now he's afraid people will think Bensalem police "had nothing better to do."
"It's only a prostitution arrest. It's not that big a deal," he said.
Why Bensalem? Because the arresting officer was part of a unit that trolls the Internet for crime, Harran said. He said the officer pursued the Craigslist ad to protect minors.
Police say Finkelstein is married. Her Facebook profile says she is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania.
She also is a devoted fan. On Oct. 20, the day after the Phillies' come-from-behind victory in game four of the National League Championship Series, Finkelstein wrote that "it was WELL worth freezing in the stands and paying $7 for Bud Lite!!!!"
Yesterday, she added a post saying she wondered about the "integrity" of police. A friend replied: "I share that thought with you Susan. But, on the bright side, it's good to know that they've completely eliminated all of the violent crime in Philly and now have the time to focus on insignificant issues . . ."
Later, another friend wrote: "Youre a hero, Go Phils!"
No one answered the door yesterday at Finkelstein's home near the Penn campus.
Last night, Finkelstein's attorney said what happened between his client and the police officer was "not a crime."
"She was looking for tickets, not sex," said lawyer William J. Brennan, calling Finkelstein a "live-and-die Phillies fan" who simply wanted tickets for herself and her husband.
A spokeswoman for the Wistar Institute, which specializes in biomedical research, said Finkelstein was assistant director of communications. She was not at work yesterday, said Staci Vernick Goldberg, Finkelstein's boss.
"It's an unfortunate situation, and we're treating it as a confidential personnel matter," said Goldberg.
Though Harran played down the arrest, David Zellis, first assistant Bucks County district attorney, said Bensalem police were known "for being very aggressive about upholding the law."
Zellis said the prostitution pinch wasn't exactly the case of the century.
"It's kind of one of those interesting things that gets a chuckle out of people," he said. "Hopefully this woman is not a prostitute and this was a one-time dumb thing."