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A well-known Panola County businessman with three previous convictions for sex crimes was arrested and charged with fondling a child.

SARDIS, Miss. – A well-known Panola County businessman with three prior convictions for sex crimes was arrested Monday and charged with fondling a child.

61-year-old Michael Saripkin made headlines in 2018 when the Sardis Chamber of Commerce chose him as grand marshal of their Christmas parade despite his status as a sex offender.

District Attorney John Champion did not confirm when or where Saripkin’s last alleged crime occurred or the boy’s age.

Online, Saripkin lists himself as the owner of a contracting business called Mini Systems. Records show that he owns several properties throughout Panola County.

“He got Rolls Royces and everything in that thing,” said a neighbor.

But neighbors also tell WREG that Saripkin often has children in his home, which has a huge pool in the backyard.

“There are children swimming and stuff,” said a neighbor.

“There is nothing wrong with children being there if their parents are with them to be there, but I am reasonably sure that they are not always there,” added the neighbor.

As of Thursday afternoon, Saripkin was still in the Panola County Jail. No one responded when WREG knocked on their door.

After Monday’s arrest, Champion said his office is working to revoke Saripkin’s probation.

“They need to revoke it. They need to revoke it. People like that have nothing to do on the street. We have enough gang members and stuff, we don’t need child molesters and things like that, ”said a neighbor.

You can search for sex offenders in your neighborhood online by visiting the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry:

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