Fair Robbers Hit Mother Lode

Two armed and disguised men, reportedly clad in Ovations Food Services uniforms, walked into an unguarded cash counting room at the California State Fair in Sacramento and robbed three employees of an estimated $100,000 in cash July 21.

Police suspect it was either an inside job or pulled off by people who knew the operations of the food services vendor, the fair and Cal Expo grounds.

Whether the thieves were connected with Ovations hardly seems to matter, given they apparently were able to walk right through an open, unguarded and unwatched door and right back out with plastic bags full of cash.

The heist took place just as the fair was shutting down for the night, in an unguarded room on an upper level of the grandstand that fronts the race track area, according to the Sacramento Bee. The track closes at about 5:30 p.m., according to the paper. The robbery took place after 10 p.m.

Not only were there no security guards or police officers at the entrances to either the room or the building, there was no video surveillance of the area, State Fair GM Nob Bartosik told the paper.

“They asked for the money and were able to load it up and carry it out, simple as that,” Bartosik said. He placed the blame for the robbery and the lack of security on Ovations, saying it was the company’s responsibility to provide its own security.

“That’s a decision that Ovations makes on its own; that’s not up to us,” Bartosik told the paper. A spokesperson for Ovations could not be reached at press time.

Nobody was injured in the heist, and the alleged gunmen were apparently able to slip away, toting bags of money, with the crowds leaving through the fairground’s three public exits.