Father loses life savings on 'rigged' carnival game (but at least he walked away with a giant dread-locked banana)
Henry Gribbohm says he lost his life savings, $2,600, on a carnival game and all he has to show for it is a stuffed banana with dreadlocks.
“You’re expecting the kids to win a few things, let the kids have a good time,” said Gribbohm. “It just didn’t turn out that way.”
Gribbohm says he attended a Manchester carnival run by New Hampshire-based Fiesta Shows and wanted to win an Xbox Kinect at a game called Tubs of Fun where contestants toss balls into a tub. When he practiced he says it was easy, but something changed when he started playing for the prize and the balls kept popping out.
“It’s not possible that it wasn’t rigged,” said Gribbohm.
The 30-year-old from Epsom says he kept trying to win back his money by going double or nothing. He dropped $300 in just a few minutes, then says he went home to get $2,300 more and soon lost all of that as well.
“You just get caught up in the whole ‘I’ve got to win my money back.’”
Fiesta Shows says the game is run by an independent contractor who has worked for Fiesta for years. Fiesta tells it is interviewing the contractor to “get to the bottom of what happened” and the game is not being set up at the upcoming carnival in Derry.
“They’ve been with us quite a while,” said Fiesta Vice President John Flynn. “First I ever heard of anything like that.”
Flynn said he did not know the name of the contractor off hand, and said it was “pretty next to impossible” to lose such a large amount of money at the game.
“I know it’s a difficult game. I’ve tried it myself — I’ve done it once, missed probably 20 times,” he said.
Henry says he went back the next day to complain, and the man running the game gave him back $600. Henry split with the banana and the cash, and filed a report with the Manchester Police Department.
Manchester Police Lieutenant Maureen Tessier says the department is investigating to determine if there was any fraud.
The traveling carnival is now setting up in Derry, NH, but you will not see Tubs Of Fun. Fiesta said the independent contractor that runs the game is not allowed to set up while an investigation is taking place.
Gribbohm says he is considering a lawsuit.
“For once in my life I happened to become that sucker,” said Gribbohm. “It was foolish for putting up my life savings.”