Deputies open ‘several’ cases against sex offenders at Dixie Classic Fair

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Forsyth County sheriff's deputies say they arrested a registered sex offender for being on Dixie Classic Fair grounds Thursday morning, the latest in “several” cases they’ve opened against sex offenders at the fair this week.

North Carolina General Statute 14-208.18(a)(4) states that registered sex offenders are prohibited from being on the premises of any “fairgrounds during the period of time that an agricultural fair is being conducted.”

“It spells out where they can and cannot go, the prohibited areas, the state fair and any agricultural fair such as the Dixie Classic are included in that,” said Lt. Chris Davenport, of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office. “We speak with them several months in advance as they come in for address verifications and different other needs.”

Although the sheriff's office has always had a presence, they say this year there’s more of a “structured operation around the fair.”

Deputies work with other law enforcement agencies -- in the fair’s case specifically the Winston-Salem Police Department -- to identify offenders on fair grounds.

“We were able, through an investigation, to determine that he was on the property,” Davenport said, of the arrest Thursday morning. “We worked, the detectives with the registry worked with other law enforcement agencies, Winston PD, to have him removed from the property. Case was opened and we were successful with an arrest.”

Deputies also work with state Probation and Parole and other state resources.

Although they couldn’t go into the full detail of the tactics they use in their operations, deputies said they use photographs of the offenders to recognize them, as well as tips from the public and other electronic sources.

“Some aggravated and recidivist offenders are required to submit to satellite-based monitoring,” Davenport added.

In addition to speaking to offenders about the restrictions when they do address verifications, offenders also sign a duty to register, which details the statute. Fair officials also post a sign on ticket windows as a final reminder before the fair gates.

Forsyth County deputies say there are currently 645 registered sex offenders in the county. They have issued 41 warrants for them and made 38 arrests this year.

According to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, there are 853 registered sex offenders in Guilford County. The database shows that Mecklenburg County has 912 offenders, Wake County is home to 725 offenders and 597 offenders live in Cumberland County.