MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police say last Friday, on a day when 145,000 people entered the gates of the Minnesota State Fair, a small group of armed robbers was among them.
State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer calls it a bold crime, considering the huge police presence.
“That gets back to the disappointment, you know. Really? Come on, it’s the fair,” Hammer said.
State Fair Police say the thieves got away with more than $10,000 in cash from the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild exhibit. At least 10 minutes passed before the tied-up victims were discovered, and officers were notified.
Each vendor has their own method of securing their cash and deciding when to deposit it in the bank.
“We have full-time restaurant operators here, we have people that are long-time concessionaires. They know what they’re doing,” Hammer said.
Carlo Mendez works at his father’s food booth, El Sol Mexican Foods, which is near the crime scene.
“You don’t want to see anyone tied up and robbed at gunpoint, especially at the State Fair,” Mendez said. “I mean, out here, people are working long hours, and I think they work too hard for it just to be taken away like that.”
The family behind El Sol Mexican Foods has had a booth at the State Fair since 1968. The owners say they’ve never had any serious problems, but they now know they need to be vigilant.
“It makes you think about your practices at the end of the night when you’re closing, and what you do with your money, what you do with your tills,” Mendez said. “It makes you second guess. Are we doing this correctly? Is there another way we should do this?”
A spokesperson for State Fair Police told WCCO Wednesday afternoon that no arrests have been made.
There is no available description of the suspects, but police confirm that more than one person was involved.
The head of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild sent an email statement to WCCO, which says the guild is grateful that no one was seriously hurt. They are also hopeful that someone witnessed the robbery or knows something about the people who are responsible for it.
They’re hoping the public can provide police with some leads to make an arrest.