Wesley Pruitt

Wesley Pruitt (courtesy photo)

Following an investigation that required a subpoena of Craigslist records, a longtime University of Nebraska-Lincoln mail room employee has been arrested on suspicion of intercepting two 2010 football season tickets and selling them in the online marketplace.

Wesley Alexander Pruitt, 49, 220 N. 32nd St., was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of theft of more than $1,500. He was released after posting $300 of a $3,000 percentage bond.

UNL spokeswoman Kelly Bartling said university officials were made aware of the arrest Wednesday. Pruitt, a mail regulations clerk with UNL Mail and Distribution Services, is on leave and his access to the mail room has been suspended pending an investigation into the matter, Bartling said.

"It's my impression that this came to our attention Wednesday, so that's when the university took action," she said.

Bartling said the university will review its policies regarding mail security practices, since Pruitt allegedly intercepted the tickets before they were mailed.

Lincoln Police Officer Katie Flood said the investigation began in the fall, when two men were turned away from Memorial Stadium because the tickets they were holding had been canceled electronically.

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Flood said the men responded to a Craigslist ad in August that was offering two season tickets -- Section 25, Row 21, Seats 8 and 9 -- for $1,600. The seller, who went by the name Wesley Jones, met the two men in a downtown Lincoln parking lot to seal the deal.

For the first two games, nothing unusual happened. The men presented their tickets, were allowed inside and watched Nebraska win its early-season contests.

Then came the Sept. 25 Homecoming contest against South Dakota State University. When the men presented their tickets, Flood said, the ticket scanner indicated they had been canceled electronically by their original owner, a ticket holder in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The ticket owner had reported that the tickets never came in the mail, Flood said.

Police believe Pruitt, who worked at the university's mail distribution center for about 10 years, stole the tickets before they were mailed out to the owner. They think Pruitt, who has had no criminal contact with Lincoln police during the past 25 years, then posted an ad online offering the tickets for sale.

Because the transaction occurred locally, Flood said, police believed there was a good chance the seller lived in the area. A subpoena of Craigslist records confirmed that when the Internet Protocol address used to place the ad traced back to Pruitt's home.

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Reach Cory Matteson at 402-473-7438 or cmatteson@journalstar.com.


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