October 22, 2019
Joel Brown
ABC 11

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- With over a million visitors expected, the N.C. State Fair is the state's largest annual event. So, tracking a random fair-goer who may be on the state's sex offender registry seems like finding a needle in a haystack.

A registered sex offender from Rocky Mount was caught at the NC State Fair on Monday.

Kymari Garrett, 24, is charged with being a sex offender unlawfully on a premise with children.

According to the arrest warrant, Garrett was previously charged with sexual battery where the victim was younger than 16.

"(Our officers) have a method that they use (to locate offenders). And I won't go into it," said Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker who sat down for an interview hours after his deputies at the fairgrounds arrested Garrett.

A law has been on the books for the last three years banning sex offenders from the fair.

The sheriff said dozens of his deputies with the help of multiple state and local agencies are combing the fairgrounds each night on watch for visitors who do not belong there.

While some of the offenders are wearing ankle bracelets to track their locations; many are not. So, what are cops looking for?

"Again it's just great police work," Baker said, unwilling to detail specific tactics (Baker did concede that fair security does not include facial recognition technology). "We're trained to see the things that people don't see. A lot of the (officers) are familiar with these persons."

In 2015, the year the state approved the ban, Wake County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested four registered sex offenders at the fair, including someone initially charged with flying a drone over the fairgrounds and a convicted child molester charged with posing as a state inspector to get into the kiddie ride section.

One group, North Carolinians for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, calls the ban unconstitutional, saying sex offenders are being denied basic rights.

In response to the call by Vander Wall's group to ignore the ban on sex offenders, Baker said allowing sex offenders at a state event filled with children would be beyond careless.

"It would be like putting a cat in a fish barrel," he said. "To me, that would be absolutely crazy."


Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.

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