South Plains Fair vendors say thousands of dollars of their merchandise is at risk because of lack of security at the fair. A number of vendors called concerned about security near their booths after NewsChannel 11 aired a story about fair security. We spoke with vendors and police about the problem and one vendor told us she took justice into her own hands after seeing a young girl take a bracelet and walk off.
Shanna Saunders detained the girl, but had to wait 35 minutes for police to arrive. "I feel like the fair let me down when no one came to my rescue." Shanna sells jewelry, clothing, and accessories. She's been a fair vendor eight years, but says this has been the worst year for shoplifting. "It's not safe out here. It gets worse and worse every year."
Keeping Thousands In Order at the Fair
You might not see them when you head into the South Plains Fair, but security is everywhere.
"They take a ball cap and fill it with items and then walk off," described one of the vendors. At the other end of the building, Kim Tibljas has had the same problem. "I had to arrest a 5 and 8-year-old, they came back again, and this time I watched them steal."
Police told NewsChannel 11 they would like to have more officers on duty, but they, like any other contractor, are on a budget. LPD also said they are not able to write police reports while they are patrolling the fair, so on-duty officers would have to be called if a crime was committed.
But vendors feel they should have better security if a shoplifter they detained should become violent. Saunders said, "We, the public, are caught in the middle for having no security and it's our safety." And Kim says, "This was our first year here, not sure if we'll be back."
Police say they would always like to have more officers staffed, but they say the fair is safe and that anytime you get thousands of people in one space, there's bound to be issues.
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