Teen accused of removing pins from ride

An Altoona 19-year-old faces a theft charge for allegedly removing safety pins from a Bedford County Fair Ferris wheel, and while police haven’t filed any charges to suggest passengers were at risk, some Bedford residents have noted a well-known 1977 fair death.

State police filed charges Tuesday against Cody James Stoy, who allegedly pulled several safety pins from a Ferris wheel the evening of July 22. He was riding on the wheel when he removed the pins, police said.

Stoy eventually returned the pins to Swank’s Steel City Shows, the carnival-ride company that operated the Ferris wheel, police said. Police weren’t available to comment on the possible danger posed by the missing pins, but the charges against Stoy don’t include any reference to a public safety risk.

In discussions online, some in Bedford County called for more serious charges, pointing to the 1977 carnival-ride death of 14-year-old Amy Gilbert. While riding a machine called the Zipper at the Bedford County Fair, Gilbert was thrown from her compartment after a loose pin allowed a door to fly open.

Gilbert’s death was influential with the state Legislature passing carnival safety rules several years later, contemporary news accounts said.

Representatives from Swank’s Steel City Shows, based in Pittsburgh, weren’t available for comment.

The company’s website notes the company’s safety record and says all equipment is properly maintained.

Stoy faces a misdemeanor theft charge and two citations, one for criminal mischief and another for disorderly conduct. A preliminary hearing date has not yet been set, according to online court documents.

Shortly after the alleged incident, Stoy complained of the reaction on his Facebook page.

“At this point I don’t know what to do anymore,” he said. “All this … over a pin.”

Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.