The Chargers are on alert after a mystery man disguised as one of their own was at a signature gathering event trying to get fans to sign a petition for a stadium plan that doesn't exist.
Charger fan Johnny Abundez and a friend encountered the man in Qualcomm Stadium's parking lot Tuesday, about an hour before the team's signature gathering event for its proposed stadium-convention center downtown. The team wants to raise the tourist tax 4 percent to 16.5 percent to pay for it.
The man approached Abundez and his friend to ask them to sign a petition supporting the Chargers' backup plan, to renovate Qualcomm Stadium if the downtown plan fails. The Chargers have proposed no such thing.
"So if that doesn't work, we have to have a backup," is what he says on iPhone video Abundez shot of the interaction.
"All red flags," Abundez said.
The man was wearing Chargers gear, and, according to Abundez, said he worked for the team.
"He started saying the Chargers have two initiatives, I was like, wait a minute, they don't have two initiatives, they have one," Abundez said.
Abundez said the man then tacked on what appeared to be a gun control petition.
"I'm not sure if he was double dipping, or if it was someone sent to sabotage the Chargers initiative," he said.
Abundez alerted team officials to the man, but he was gone by the time they came out.
Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani said the team immediately began investigating, and will be watching carefully at future signature gathering events. He said no one recognized the man in Qualcomm Stadium's surveillance cameras.