Chicago Police Report Man Faked Robbery For Oprah Tickets
CHICAGO, Illinois ~ (Chicago Tribune) ~ City police report that a Canadian man faked a robbery and endured a self-administered beating all for tickets to see one of Oprah Winfrey's last shows.
44-year-old Robert Spearing was taken to Stroger Hospital on May 17th after he told police he was beaten by two men before the took his passes to a star-studded farewell show, held later that evening at the United Center. The event, billed as "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular", featured numerous celebrity appearances including actors Tom Cruise and Will Smith, and former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan.
Spearing originally told police that, just after 10:00am he was standing alone in the 200 block of Wood Street, when two men in their 20s one African-American and one Hispanic, beat and robbed him. That location is about a block away from the United Center. However, police say hours later Spearing changed his story, admitting he was never attacked and faked his injuries. He also allegedly said he concocted the tale because he didn't want to disappoint his wife after they had traveled from Ontario without tickets to see the show. The 13,000 available tickets were actually given away in a lottery drawing; Harpo Productions reported receiving over 154,000 requests for seats at the event.
Police report Spearing cut his own forehead with a rock and scaped his hands on a sidewalk to mimic injuries from a violent street robbery. He's been charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. On May 18th Cook County Judge Donald Paranese Jr. ordered Spearing held on $20,000 bond and scheduled a hearing.
Photo credit: Chicago Police Department