Circus paraphernalia stolen in two separate thefts at Frank Erwin Center

Natalie Sullivan

Bags of cotton candy, circus hats and a circus uniform disappeared from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in one of two thefts last week at the Frank Erwin Center. 

According to Erwin Center director John Graham, UTPD reports numerous thefts at the Erwin Center each year. Graham said no particular special precautions are taken to prevent thefts at large events, such as the circus, despite the large number of people in attendance. 

The Ringling Bros. Circus performed at the center from Aug. 17-24. The circus comes several times a year to Austin and holds several different shows. 

Sunday, circus staff reported seeing a man trying to take a souvenir cup and a stuffed animal from some displays. The man also tried to take a camera from one of the tripods available for event photographs, according to UTPD records. Police stopped the man after seeing him try to return the stuffed animal without a sales receipt. The man’s stepdaughter then gave the police the items the man had stolen, including a bag of cotton candy. UTPD let him leave after the encounter.

Thursday, a staff member at the circus reported that another theft had occurred. This time a circus uniform, circus hats and bags of cotton candy were stolen. According to UTPD records, the staff member did not see the theft take place but told police the items were taken sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. UTPD officials placed the estimated loss value of the items around $65. 

Erin Burgy, regional communications director for the circus, said she did not have any information on why the hats and uniform were stolen or how often thefts typically occur at the circus.