Many Angered By Purse Thefts At Fairgrounds

Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 5:11 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Visitors get a rude welcome to Tulsa.  Some people in town for the Green Country Paint Horse Show are now stuck a thousand miles away from home with no ID and no money after someone stole their purses.

What may look like a new truck window being installed is actually evidence of a crime.  The truck was parked less than 20 feet from an open door at the fairgrounds on Tuesday, with people everywhere unloading tack, when a thief broke the window.

"These guys pulled up in a blue Acura.  He broke the window, took two purses, a makeup bag and jewelry and left, that quick," said Mary Williams of Utah.

Mary lost the jewelry.  Her daughter and another woman lost their purses and they're all in shock it happened at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, with so many people around.

"It was scary. We have kids here. It's supposed to be a family activity and what's next?  We have a prominent trainer chasing him with a horse as they come out of our window," said Camie Schoonover of Utah.

Cynthia Perkins is from Tulsa and attends all the horse shows.  She says the thefts are a constant problem and she's fed up.

"It just made me so angry. It's so bold to do it right here in front of us, instead of a parking lot. I can name every horse show last year and there was a purse stolen," said Cynthia Perkins of Tulsa.

They all believe there needs to be more security, fewer access points in and out of the fairgrounds, similar to other venues like in Denver and Fort Worth.

Expo Square management says security is a priority.

"Everything is a balance. We look at it every day and take it all seriously," said Expo Square President Mark Andrus.

Andrus says he's looking at building a fence on the north side of the barns, adding surveillance cameras and limited the number of access points, but all of that costs money and none of it is in the current budget.