Local News

Sheriff wants clearer rules to keep sex offenders away from State Fair

Posted October 26, 2015

— Twenty people were arrested at the North Carolina State Fair this year, including four registered sex offenders charged with being too close to children.

"I wasn't aware that you couldn't go to the State Fair," Bobby Snyder told Wake County District Court Judge Ned Mangum on Monday. "My bossman told my parole officer that we were going by there, and he didn't say nothing about it."

Snyder, 37, was arrested Saturday near Gate 10 of the fairgrounds, which is close to the Kiddieland ride area.

He was released from prison Sept. 9 after spending two years behind bars for failing to register as a sex offender. Mangum raised his bond on the fair-related charge from $50,000 to $250,000.

In addition to Snyder, Tyrone Szabo, 64, of 1505 Pocomoke Road in Franklinton, Matthew Allen Kenning, 38, of 2037 Shadow Creek Drive in Raleigh, and Charles Robert Stokes, 32, of 139 E. Franklinville St. in Staley, were arrested during the fair's 11-day run.

Authorities said Szabo impersonated a ride inspector in Kiddieland, while Kenning flew a drone over the area.

Anyone on North Carolina's Sex Offender Registry is prohibited from being within 300 feet of an area designated primarily for children, so Wake County deputies and State Fair police have focused enforcement on the Kiddieland area. But Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said state officials need to clarify the rules before next year's fair.

Harrison said he has already talked to Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and intends to speak with Attorney General Roy Cooper and possibly lawmakers about redefining "kid" areas at the fair.

"We may look at what can we do to make it clear so we can say, 'This is the way it's going to be. You can't come. If you do come, you're going to be charged,'" he said.

Two of the four men were wearing electronic monitoring ankle bracelets, Harrison said.

"If a person has a bracelet on that's monitored that's not supposed to be there, then when he comes within 3 to 5 miles, it alerts (the monitoring service), and they alert us," he said.


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  • John Johnson Oct 27, 2015
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    How About The Workers that Travel with these groups from Place to Place...

  • Angel Nardo-Myers Oct 27, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    At least two of the four arrested were convicted of sex offense with a child that I am sure of. So regardless if they kept child predictors locked up they won't have to track them

  • Angel Nardo-Myers Oct 27, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    so says the child molester... he's a really creditable source. I'm sure he's completely innocent too.

  • William Teach Oct 26, 2015
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    There are certainly a few question. First, what where they convicted of? One can be a SO for sending explicit texts, or illegally distributing pornography. Or prostitution. The rate if recidivism is much lower than people think.

    Furthermore, these are people who have served penalties for their crimes. Do we restrict murderers, arsonists, and thieves from attending the State Fair? Understand, I'm not defending SO's, but, they seem to be enduring more punishment after they've already served their court determined punishment.

  • Mike Hill Oct 26, 2015
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    One item that is never made clear, is that a majority of the people on the SO registry committed offenses that did not involve children. They just put all misdemeanor sexual battery offenders on the registry, even if their offenses did not involve children. They do need to reform the registry. With the exception of one, none of them were doing anything sexually related. But yet we have LE and the media calling for pitchforks and torches. Perhaps if they would only put felons, that committed offenses against children on the registry, it could be taken seriously. Or we could go back to accusing people of being witches and burning them at the stake. We are so ignorant and ill-educated we deserve a Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama.

  • Brian White Oct 26, 2015
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    Did you even read the article? It's not about creating new laws, it's about removing ambiguities so that law enforcement can enforce them. The guy's own parole officer wasn't even aware he couldn't go to the fair.

  • John Broome Oct 26, 2015
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    They didn't follow the 'don't diddle kids' rule, I'm not sure how effective 'don't go to the fair' will be.