Was a Florida Couple Arrested for Selling ‘Golden Tickets to Heaven’?

On March 31 2015, a website called Stuppid.com reported that a couple named Tito and Amanda Watts told their marks that they could “simply present the ticket at the pearly gates” to get into heaven. The website quoted Tito as saying:

I don’t care what the police say. The tickets are solid gold… it ain’t cut up two by fours I spray painted gold. And it was Jesus who give them to me behind the KFC and said to sell them so I could get me some money to go to outer space. I met an alien named Stevie who said if I got the cash together he’d take me and my wife on his flying saucer to his planet that’s made entirely of crack cocaine. You can smoke all the crack cocaine there you want… totally free. So, try to send an innocent man to jail and see what happens. You should arrest Jesus because he’s the one that gave me the golden tickets and said to sell them. I’m willing to wear a wire and set Jesus up…

A cardinal rule for articles published by websites with names like “Stuppid.com,” particularly toward the end of March approaching April 1 during any year, is to double-check whether it is actually a legitimate story before running with it as a delectable piece of gossip about particularly stupid criminals.

Despite this, the Jacksonville Sun-Times mistakenly re-reported the story as though it was actual news, and it has since been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media. To their credit, Sun-Times quickly admitted that they were wrong:

UPDATE: This story turned out to be an April Fool’s joke, and unfortunately we fell for it. The story, which several other websites also reported as fact, originated on March 31 with the website Stuppid.com, and the photos of the fictional “Tito and Amanda Watts” came from this 2011 collection of bizarre mug shots. We apologize for publishing false information and regret this error.

According to Stuppid.com’s disclaimer: “Stuppid.com reports stupid news we find around the web and from other sources. We aim to publish the stupidest, craziest stuff we can find.”

Editor’s note, 12/30/2019, 10:01am: We have updated this page. You can find the original here. -bb