79 badges confiscated in Masters scalping arrests

For the second year in a row, the number of Masters Tournament badges seized by deputies because of illegal sales increased.

This year, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office said deputies confiscated 79 badges. All were taken during the first four days of the week, according to sheriff's Capt. Scott Gay.

Deputies dressed in golf attire could be seen around the main gate of Augusta National Golf Club last week, ready to stop anyone selling a ticket illegally. Last year, they seized 66 badges during the week. In 2009, 37 were taken.

Authorities tend to focus their anti-scalping efforts early in the week. This year, they issued warnings to patrons Monday and began taking badges and arresting scalpers later. Seventeen people were charged with violating a state law prohibiting the sale of tickets within 2,700 feet of a venue. Each person faced a $500 bond and fines as high as $750.

Masters Week was otherwise quiet, police said.

"This year wasn't very eventful," Gay said. "We had a couple of folks who had too much to drink, but they were asked to leave with no problems."

In 2010, Eric Sweet, a Canadian, was charged with disorderly conduct after he took off his shirt and went for a swim in the pond on the 16th hole. The year before, a Utah man jumped into a bunker on the 17th green and began making a "snow angel" with his arms.

An alcohol-infused stunt did cause some trouble for patrons eating at IHOP on Washington Road, across from the Augusta National. On Friday, deputies said a man participated in a game of hashing, which involves a runner, or "hare," who lays a trail of flour and is chased by a group of runners called the "pack." Henry Ragland, 46, of Martinez, was laying flour when he threw some in the restaurant, according to Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Calvin Chew.

When an employee asked what it was, Ragland joked that it was anthrax and ran away, deputies said.

The restaurant was evacuated while authorities tested the mixture. Ragland was arrested and charged with terroristic threats and acts.

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