Fair Exhibitors Concerned About Hired Security Guards

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- For Denice Schoelerman, fair security doesn't make her feel very secure. Last year, while showing her sheep, she says an Iowa State Fair security guard ripped her off.   "We had just arrived at the fairgrounds and we were busy getting our sheep down and a couple hours later I noticed my purse was missing."

Fortunately, her son saw the theft and told police. The guard was arrested and it turns out he had a criminal past.   "One of my sons was able to see that a security guard had stolen it out of our area in broad daylight," Schoelerman said, "When I found out after they did catch who did it that he had an arrest warrant out in a different county in Iowa that did concern me because it is a family fair."

Two guards were busted last year for stealing, according to the fair. Now, some exhibitors say they're worried about who is being hired to work security.

"We do statewide background checks," said fair spokeswoman Mindy Williamson, "We do all of the background checks you could think of for sexual offenders and things like that. So our security guards go through that, our parking, our admissions. The carnival folks who come in they provide a list to us, they do background checks."

As for what happened last year, Williamson said,  "We're really disappointed that they kinda snuck through the cracks so one of them was a particular person with no record so that wouldn't show up in a background check. And then the other person was someone who had something happen too soon to show up on the background checks so it was just a paperwork thing."

Kathy Krafka- Harpema with the Iowa Suffolk Sheep Association says she hopes so. "Well that's easy to say but again the proof is in the results. And we just hope there are no more thefts that take place or anything worse."

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