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NH man spends life savings on carnival game; wins giant banana

A New Hampshire man is claiming he was scammed at a carnival after he spent $2,600 on a game of chance, but walked away with nothing more than a giant stuffed banana with dreadlocks.
Manchester, NH (WSYR-TV/CNN) – A New Hampshire man is claiming he was scammed at a carnival after he spent $2,600 on a game of chance, but walked away with nothing more than a giant stuffed banana with dreadlocks.

Henry Gribbohm says the $2,600 he lost represents his life savings. He says he spent the money trying to win gifts for his children.

"You're expecting the kids to win a few things, let the kids have a good time, it just didn't turn out that way,” he said.

Gribbohm says he attended the Manchester Carnival run by Fiesta Shows, where he wanted to win an Xbox Kinect at a game called Tubs of Fun.

Participants compete by tossing balls into a tub.

Gribbohm says the game was easy when he practiced. But he believes something changed when he began playing for keeps. He claims the balls started popping out.

"It's not possible that it wasn't rigged,” he said.

Gribbohm says he kept trying to win back his money going double or nothing. He dropped $300 in just a few minutes. Then he says he went home to get $2,300 and soon lost that as well.

"I know it's a difficult game, I've tried it myself, I've done it once, missed probably 20 times,” said Fiesta Vice President John Flynn.

Fiesta Shows says the game is run by an independent contractor who has worked for Fiesta for years.

It’s interviewing the contractor to see what happened.

The company says it doesn’t know about any scams being run by its contractors.

"Not that I'm aware of, we've had a lot of these game operators with us for years," Flynn said.

The traveling carnival is now setting up in Derry, NH, but Tubs of Fun will not be among the games available to attendees. Fiesta says the independent contractor that runs the game is not allowed to set up, while an investigation is taking place.

Gribbohm returned the next day to complain and the man running the game gave him $600.

He left with the giant banana and the cash and then filed a report with the Manchester Police Department.

"For once in my life I happened to become that sucker,” Gribbohm said.

Police say they’re investigating for possible fraud.

Gribbohm says he’s considering pursuing a lawsuit.

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