Police Beat 3/13/2019: Pranks a lot!
University of Arizona Police Department officers on the UA campus.
A bunch of jugheads
“It’s just a prank, bro,” is not a legitimate legal defense, as several Arbol de la Vida Residence Hall residents learned after a prank war in the hall got out of hand and the University of Arizona Police Department got involved on Feb. 19.
While pranks between the residents of a certain wing had been going on for weeks, the tipping point was a threatening note left on a door. The note read, “I will kill your family,” and was apparently signed by one of the residents. After the community director learned about the note, he called the police.
A UAPD officer arrived at the residence hall and spoke to several of the wing’s residents. The first and second residents that she spoke to lived together in the room that the note had been found on.
The residents told the officer they knew about the note, but had assumed it was just a prank and had not felt threatened. They also did not believe that the resident who “signed” the note was actually the one who wrote it. The first resident said he suspected someone else had written it and signed using someone else’s name.
They also filled the officer in on the prank war that had been going on. The second resident said several residents had recently begun throwing five-gallon water jugs at each other’s dorms.
The second resident also said the person whose name was written on the note seemed to have been targeted. More jugs than normal had been thrown at his door prior to the discovery of the note. He did not know of a motive for the increased jug-tossing.
The second resident informed the officer the threatening note had initially been on another door. She then went to speak to those residents.
Only one of the residents was home when the officer arrived. This third resident told her he had recently been written up for his pranking behavior and was upset, but he understood why.
He said that he knew his behavior in the past, including throwing water jugs, was wrong, and he had been participating in pranks less this semester to focus more on school.
He also knew about the note, but like the other residents, figured it was a prank, that the “signed” resident had not actually written it and that it was not a real threat. He had thrown it in the hall’s trash.
The officer then spoke with his roommate, a fourth resident, in a nearby study room. The fourth resident said he knew about the note but didn’t think it was legitimate.
He also said after the third resident had thrown a jug at the door of the resident who “signed” the note, the second and fourth residents noticed that the “signer” had reacted in a way that they found amusing, so they threw more jugs at his door.
He said he knew his behavior was wrong, though neither he nor the the second resident had gotten into trouble for their behavior.
Finally, the officer spoke with a fifth resident, the student whose name was “signed” on the note.
The fifth resident recounted the past week’s incidents. While at first the water jugs had been thrown at several doors, after a while, they all seemed to be coming to him. He called out into the hall that it needed to stop.
One day, he stepped into the hallway and spotted the third resident in the hallway and said he grew to suspect this resident had been behind the targeted jug-throwing.
The frequent jug-throwing continued. Several times, the fifth resident looked out his door’s peephole to see the second or third residents running away after throwing water jugs. Once, he even tried to confront them, but they ran and hid in bathroom stalls.
He filed a report with the wing’s resident assistant, though he was unsure if the alleged culprits were written up for it.
The fifth resident went as far as installing a Google Pixel camera to his peephole, which turned on whenever it detected motion outside his door.
One morning at around 2 a.m., the camera caught footage of the second resident and another, unknown man trying to open the fifth resident’s locked door. He did not know why they would want access to his room, though he did note other known pranks, such as water or flour being dumped around the room, as possible motives.
RELATED: Sign shenanigans and room rascality
The fifth resident told the officer he did not feel threatened or want to move from his room, though he was concerned about running into any of the pranksters while alone. However, he also noted the second resident had apologized in a group chat and there were no hard feelings.
When the officer asked, the fifth resident denied writing the note that had been found on the third and fourth residents’ door.
According to the officer, none of the pranks constituted criminal activity. A Code of Conduct violation was issued for the second, third and fourth residents, which was forwarded to the Dean of Students Office.
Follow Vanessa Ontiveros on Twitter