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Armed robbers hold up three state fair workers in one night

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- Puyallup police are beefing up patrols around the Washington State Fair after armed robbers hit three times over the weekend.

No one was hurt in the incidents that happened several blocks away from the fair. The robbers struck Sunday night just after the fair closed and workers were heading home.

The State Fair had been operating only three days when robbers decided to move into the surrounding neighborhoods.

Robbery victim Leif Strom was walking in the 1000 block of 7th Avenue Southeast when he got held up. He and another worker at the State Fair were heading east toward home when confronted by four men in a white Buick.

"One of them came up and the other one was behind him and he asked me for all my money and I gave him $6 at first," Strom said.

But Strom had just finished a 10-hour shift selling items at the fair and had been paid $100 in cash.

"But then he pulled out a gun and he asked me for it all, and so I gave him $100 and just walked away before he asked me for my phone or anything," Strom said.

Strom said the robber was only 5'8" tall. Strom stand 6'6" tall. Strom said the man's gun made up for the size difference.

"I guess you feel pretty big when you have a gun," he said.

Just 8 minutes later and a mile away on the complete other side of the fair grounds, two more pairs of State Fair workers were robbed at gunpoint. Police believe they were targeted by the same group of robbers.

"I'd say it was very bold to be doing this, especially this time of year with the fair going on and so many people being out and about," said Capt. Ryan Portmann of the Puyallup Police Department.

Portmann said the department already have extra police in the area for the fair, and now they're going to bring in even more to ease growing concerns.

"The Fair is safe," said Portmann. "This is highly unusual to have this type of a crime series to occur during the fair."

Residents fear this will hurt the image of the fair, but they're confident in their police department.

"I think it was just a few incidents and I know our police force is definitely working to catch the guys," said Puyallup resident Sarah Lawson.

All of the victims were fair workers, but police don't if they were targeted specifically or just random targets.

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