WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita River Festival is out hundreds of admission buttons after some people bought the buttons with bad checks.
Jenny Venn, director of marketing and communications for Wichita Festivals, Inc., said the theft happened in late April and early May.
Venn said the culprits called and ordered around 100 adult buttons and some children’s admission buttons on three separate occasions. A couple of times, they said it was for a business or the business owner. Another time they said it was for a charity.
The people who picked up the buttons at the Riverfest office paid by check each time. Venn said the checks eventually came back as fraudulent. She learned the checks had been stolen and washed, and the signatures were forged.
“There was an unfortunate situation at our office where we had sold some buttons and, unfortunately, those checks were bad,” Nancy Duling, Wichita Festivals president and CEO, said.
Wichita Festivals filed a police report and is working with detectives to solve the crime. They believe the same group is responsible for all three incidents.
Venn said it is not unusual for corporations to purchase large quantities of buttons to give to employees, employee clubs, or nonprofit agencies, especially when adult buttons were at the early-bird price of $10. The price increased to $15 on May 6. Children’s buttons are $5.
In all, the thieves got more than 400 buttons. Most were adult buttons, while 45 were children’s buttons. The value could range from $3,775 at the early-bird price to more than $5,550 at the regular price.
From now on, Venn said Wichita Festivals will not accept personal checks.
Duling believes the thieves will try to see the buttons for a profit.
“If anyone is trying to sell you a button besides QuikTrip or at the Wichita Festivals office, please do not buy it,” she said.
The button is your admission for the nine-day Wichita Riverfest that starts Friday, June 3. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Riverfest.