Registered sex offender arrested at NC State Fair's 'kiddie land'

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Tyrone Szabo (image courtesy Raleigh-Wake City-County Bureau of Identification)

A registered sex offender was arrested at the North Carolina State Fair Tuesday after the Wake County Sheriff's Office said he was posing as a ride inspector in the kiddie land area of the event.

According to arrest warrants, 64-year-old Tyrone Szabo was dressed in khaki BDU-style clothing with black work boots, a flashlight and pepper spray.

State troopers noticed he was carrying pepper spray on the outside of his uniform-style clothing and questioned Szabo. Authorities said he stated "he was a state certified ride inspector in order to gain access to an area specifically designed for children."

"A couple of state troopers noticed a guy with BDU pants on but he had pepper spray ... you could see it visibly and it drew their attention to it," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. "So they went over and talked to the guy and in his conversation he said he was a state ride inspector, that he was out to inspect the rides which really didn't fit the profile of what our ride inspectors are."

Deputies ran a check on Szabo and discovered he's on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry.

He was convicted in 2006 on multiple counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

"Using that I'm a ride inspector to get up personal with the rides, you don't know what he had on his mind, and I'm thankful we got him when we did and got him off the fairgrounds," Harrison said. "He knows he's not supposed to be there because of his stipulations that he had, but to go in boldly like that and who knows what he would have done."

Szabo was booked into the Wake County jail on charges of impersonating a public officer and being a sex offender on premises where children were present.
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