Robbery of Contra Costa fair workers could impact next year's run

The Contra Costa County Fair ended on a good note until two fair workers were robbed of nearly $90,000 in cash while attempting to make a bank deposit.

Going into this year's fair, organizers were concerned about people's behavior after a fight caused the event to close early last year. However, this year, two fair workers were robbed at gunpoint while visiting a BMO bank in Antioch before dawn on Monday morning.

Antioch police said it was standard practice for fair employees to go to the bank in the middle of the night. While previous nighttime bank runs went smoothly, Monday's deposit did not.

Authorities said the two fair employees, a man and a woman, were carrying cash from parking and entrance fees when they were robbed around 2:15 a.m. in the parking lot of BMO Bank on Somersville Road.


Armed robbery at Oakland 7-Eleven

Surveillance video shows a person in a black hooded sweatshirt and face mask pulling out a gun on the clerk at the 7-Eleven.

The victims were approached by a suspect who placed a metal object, believed to be a gun against the male victim's back. The assailant threatened to kill the fair workers if they didn't comply and robbed them of $88,000 stored in a backpack, along with their cell phones, said Police Lt. Desmond Bittner.

Bittner said the victims did not see a gun but believed the suspect had one.

The holdup marred an otherwise successful four-day run at the fair that ended late Sunday night.

"It was typical for them to be doing deposits around that hour," said Bittner, adding that the early morning bank run is not unusual for fair workers.

Officers are looking for surveillance video along the route the victims took to BMO Bank.

"We don't know if they were followed from the fairgrounds or if somebody was lying in wait in the parking lot," said Bittner.

Authorities said the robbery was not an inside job.

"My determination at this point is that they are legitimate victims and we're investigating this as if it's a normal armed robbery," Bittner said.

Craig Cannon, president of the Contra Costa County Fair Board, said the fair might feel the effects of this robbery next year.

"Must be a pretty bad person to take away from families and guests of a fair that basically  gives everything back to the community," he said.

He added that the money was intended for next year's festivities.

"That's how we pay for the petting zoos and things like that for the kids, All that is not something you pay to get into. So it might have a damper next year, trying to get all the events we like to provide our patrons for free," Cannon said.

The suspect is still outstanding.