A Scottsdale man arrested three weeks ago on suspicion of blocking a speed photo-enforcement van was arrested this week in what police are calling an eBay scam.
Jason Shelton, 36, was arrested by Scottsdale police on suspicion of fraud and theft about 6:45 p.m. Thursday as he was participating at a speed photo-enforcement protest at Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard.
Police said they were able to verify through Shelton’s bank account and computer records that he was paid $12,300 for a 1988 Pontiac Fiero by a man in Canada through an eBay transaction.
The man paid $2,000 more than the asking price for the car to have it shipped to him, but the man never received the Fiero, police said.
Scottsdale police used undercover officers to monitor the peaceful demonstration Thursday and waited until it was winding down before officers got out of a van and handcuffed Shelton, said D.T. Arneson, a volunteer for the group CameraFraud.com, which opposes photo-enforcement.
Shelton was videotaping the demonstration when he was handcuffed.
“I had no idea, no clue,” Arneson said of Shelton’s alleged fraud-related offenses. “This comes as a surprise. This had nothing to do with the protest. What I had a problem with is that officers just jumped out of their van in tactical gear without identifying themselves before they handcuffed him. They didn’t say who they were.”
Arneson went on to say that although he is familiar with Shelton as a volunteer with the group, no background checks are required to be a part of the grass-roots group.
“Anybody can come out to these things,” Arneson said. “You never know who can be standing next to you. The important thing is that this was a peaceful demonstration.”
Scottsdale police first arrested Shelton on suspicion of obstruction of government operations after they say he attempted to block a speed photo enforcement van with a sign on Aug. 27.
Shelton was one of three people holding signs in protest of the speed photo-enforcement van in the 6800 block of East Shea Boulevard and failed to provide his correct name when he was arrested, police said.
The three people had been holding up signs in protest along the stretch of Shea, and police said they also discovered the group had participated in similar behavior at two other van locations earlier that evening.
CameraFraud.com said in an e-mail at the time that it did not believe Shelton’s arrest was appropriate.
Shelton is the only person facing prosecution in that incident, according to a clerk at the Scottsdale City Court. He is scheduled to appear for a hearing in Scottsdale City Court involving that incident at 9 a.m. on Oct. 24, before Presiding City Judge B. Monte Morgan.
A statement issued by the Scottsdale Police Department at the time of Shelton’s first arrest said: “The city of Scottsdale, including the police department, respects and protects an individual’s right to stage and participate in a lawful demonstration. However, behavior such as the intentional obstruction of a contracted photo enforcement van’s operation is not lawful and subject to enforcement action.”