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Practical Jokes Gone Wrong

Updated on February 16, 2008

Everyone loves a good practical joke, right? Unfortunately, not everyone knows what a good practical joke is. Nobody should ever get hurt during a practical joke. At the same time, you should avoid breaking laws when pulling off a prank.

I can be quite the prankster myself, but have never gotten in trouble for my little jokes. The following stories will leave you wondering: “What were they thinking?”

Pranks Gone Wrong

Stop Sign Pranks Don't Pay
Stop Sign Pranks Don't Pay
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Promo Causes Panic In Boston
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Promo Causes Panic In Boston
False Fire Alarm Prevention
False Fire Alarm Prevention
Bomb & Gun Scares Are No Joke
Bomb & Gun Scares Are No Joke

The Stop Sign Removal Prank

I remember some teens pulled this prank as their senior prank just as I was about to enter high school. They stole the stop sign from an intersection, but this prank later ended in a fatal car accident. These young pranksters were made an example out of—they ended up being sentenced to jail time. You may be familiar with the Florida accident in July of 1997 where three teenagers were accused of stealing the stop sign at the site of the accident. The teens admitted to stealing other street signs, but not the one in question. The three teens were convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. They didn’t go to prison, but were released on bond, pending appeal. In February, 2001, the convictions were overturned.

The point here, though, is that a prank might seem innocent, but you need to think it out. If it could endanger the lives of others, don’t do it. Not only could people be injured or killed, but you will face tough penalties.

The Cartoon Network Prank

This prank was actually a promotional campaign for the Cartoon Network. A marketing firm planted blinking devices in cities across the United States. Unfortunately, these blinking devices looked like bombs. Boston was the most disrupted city after one of these devices was spotted, spouting fears of terrorism. After news of Boston’s scare spread, the marketing firm alerted authorities in the cities where they had placed the other devices. Last I heard, the network agreed to pay restitution. Locally, here in the Seattle area, a construction crew announced they had found the device the week before Boston’s scare. The crew simply thought someone was playing a prank, so they simply removed the device from the area.

Pulling the Fire Alarm Prank

A lot of people are tempted to pull a fire alarm as a prank. Whether they think it is funny or they want to get out of taking a test, this is one prank that carries serious consequences. First of all, the fire department has to come out to check out the entire building whenever a fire alarm goes off. False alarms end up costing the school or business where it occurs. Second, it is illegal to pull a fire alarm without cause (and getting out of a test is not cause). Penalties range from formal charges to monetary penalties.

Bomb & Gun Scare Pranks

There was a time when these pranks didn’t carry intense penalties, but that is no longer the case. These scares will not be considered pranks by mischievous youths. Instead, they will be considered serious threats no matter the age of the person who does it. It simply is not funny or smart to make a fake bomb or gun threat scare.


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