1Making Fake 911 Calls For a Hostage Situation, Shooting, and Making a Bomb Threat
On September 8, 2007, 19-year-old Chris Scheibe called 911 and identified himself as Sgt. Joseph Anthony Ramirez, a 27-year-old who had returned from a tour of duty in Iraq only to find that his wife had cheated on him and taken their two children to Michigan. So, in a fit of madness he shot a hostage and barricaded himself inside a Severna Park home. He also wanted flak jackets sent to all troops in Iraq and demanded to speak with the president. He said he was ready to die if police didn't comply.
Scheibe told a hostage negotiator that he was in a home in the 500 block of Park Drive and had an assault rifle with a high-powered scope and 30 rounds of ammunition. He also said he was with three other Marines, whom he identified by name, rank, and age, who were trained in urban warfare, armed with assault rifles, and clad in body armor.
After closing roads and bringing in a special-response team, police determined that the elaborate scenario was a hoax. At the home where the five hostages were supposedly being held by four disgruntled Iraq veterans, a couple answered the phone and said that everything was fine.
Other alleged calls involved a Sept. 5 report of a shooting in the Carrollton Manor community of Severna Park, and a Sept. 10 bomb threat at Severna Park High School. A 911 dispatcher recognized the voice from a call for a shooting in Carrollton Manor days earlier. Police then determined that two cell phones used in the hostage case had also been used in the shooting and bomb threat calls.
2Pretending to Cheat On His Wife On the Air
A man decided to have some fun with his wife on her birthday by playing what seemed to be an innocent prank.
The plan was to have the on-air radio personalities contact the wife and tell her that her husband had lost his job because he was caught having sex with the secretary in his office.
The practical joke began to come to fruition when the wife exploded into anger. The joke lost control when the woman revealed that the awful news of her husband's infidelity was actually somewhat of a relief because now she no longer felt bad about sleeping with her brother-in-law.
The on-air radio personalities revealed that everything was one colossal prank, but it was too late since the secret of the wife's infidelity had already been exposed to the whole world.
3Pretending a Suicide
In 2004, Randy Wood phoned his ex-wife and said he had something he wanted to show her at his home in West Monroe, 17 miles northeast of Syracuse. When she arrived at Wood's home she found him hanging from a tree in the front yard with a rope around his neck.
In absolute panic, the ex-wife called 911. Firefighters and an ambulance were sent to try to save the supposedly suicidal man. However, the ex-wife didn't know that this was just a silly prank; Wood had secured himself with a lineman's harness like those used by utility crews.
According to the media, Wood was fined $1,000 and jailed for one year.
4Pretending to be Kidnapped
A 13-year-old girl in Valencia, Spain decided to play a dumb prank on her dad. She held up a sign in the car while they were driving along which read, "Help. I'm being kidnapped."
Her father had no idea what she was doing, but when a Spanish Police officer got a glimpse of the sign he did not hesitate to save the girl. The police officer stopped the vehicle and drew his weapon. He pointed his gun at the girl's father's head, ordering him out of the vehicle with his hands on head. The stunned father obeyed, all the time assuring the officer that he was the father of the girl.
It didn't take too long for the teenager to admit to the joke. However, the off-duty officer had already alerted the authorities of what he thought was a grave event, which then drew a large deployment of police officers to the scene.
Once it had been established that they were, indeed, father and daughter, they were both allowed to leave the scene with no charge.
5Faking an Armed Robbery
In April 2012, three friends decided to play a trick on their mutual friend, the owner of a kiosk in the center of Beit Shemesh, Israel.
The prank began when Assaf Ohanunah, 19, Vava Gershkovit, 22, and Michal Ben-Shabbat, 25, arrived at the Mifgash Harovah Kiosk one night armed with toy guns and with their faces covered.
After announcing that they were there to rob the place, the terrified owner handed over NIS 4,000 (over US$1,100) and the trio fled. The owner immediately called the police who began a search for the suspects.
An hour later the three robbers returned to the kiosk to deliver the money and tell the owner that the robbery was just an April Fools' Day joke. The owner of the kiosk notified the police that the stick-up was fake, but cops handcuffed the three pranksters anyway.
After being held in police custody for two days, the three friends were brought before Jerusalem's Magistrate Court on charges of armed robbery, disturbing the peace, and threatening behavior.
6Playing an April Fools' Day Prank on Police Officers
According to the Hampton Police media release, young Susan Alexandria Tinker, an employee at a Hampton branch of the Waffle House chain, made an emergency 911 call on April 1, 2013. Since this restaurant had been the setting of violent crimes in the past, the police responded by sending K9 units to the Waffle House. Investigators sniffed around the scene and canvassed the neighborhood for suspects.
When police reviewed surveillance footage recorded during Tinker's shift, they discovered evidence that the original 911 call was just an April Fools' Day hoax.
The media reported that Tinker has been charged with falsely summoning the police, and faces a $2500 fine or up to one year in jail.
7Throwing a Hot-Sauced Drink at a Fast Food Employee
On August 3, 2007, four teenagers decided to play a very evil practical joke called "Fire in the hole" on a Subway employee in Jacktown Hill. Inspired by a popular internet video, the teenagers ordered food and paid for it before throwing the hot-sauced drink at the Subway employee, screaming "Fire in the hole."
According to police, the four jokers confessed to the incident and four similar pranks at local restaurants. The suspects, whose names weren't released because of their ages, were charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, and criminal conspiracy.
8Placing an Inflatable Doll in a School Restroom
On May 31, 2011, Tyell Morton, 18, wanted to play a practical joke on his female peers, so he put a blow-up sex doll in a bathroom stall on the last day of school.
A janitor saw Morton run away from the school and security footage showed a person in a hooded sweatshirt and gloves entering the school with a package and leaving five minutes later without it. Administrators feared explosives, so they locked down the school and called police. A bomb squad and K9 dogs searched the building before finding the sex doll.
Morton was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor, and institutional criminal mischief, a felony that carries the potential of two to eight years in prison.
In October 2011, the charges were expunged.
9Tying a Dead Chihuahua to a Truck Bumper
In 2004, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Paul Goobie was driving when he suddenly found a dead Chihuahua in the street. Paul took the dog back to work and decided to dispose of the animal by tying one end of a rope to the dog's neck and the other end to the bumper of his co-worker's pickup truck.
The co-worker, Kevin Meloy, was completely ignorant of the situation as he dragged the dead dog for two miles before a motorist caught his attention. Some motorists had tried to alert Meloy, but he didn't hear their warnings because he is deaf.
Goobie was cited for unlawful disposal of a dead animal. He faces probation or up to 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
Goobie allegedly told deputies that he got the idea for the practical joke from the film National Lampoon's Vacation, when Chevy Chase's character ties a live dog to the bumper at a rest stop, forgets, and drives away.
10 Simulating an Express Kidnapping to Carry a Groom to His Stag Party
In July 2013, Madrid police received several calls from worried bystanders, saying that two masked gunmen had rushed a victim at gunpoint into a black Mercedes in Salamanca, Spain.
Days later, José Manuel Conde, 37, was browsing the Spanish newspaper El Mundo when he saw the kidnapping story and realized they were talking about his stag party!
Conde told the media that the unusual prank was his friend David's idea, with the help of a third man.
Conde's friends parked the car and put on their balaclavas. David and his friend captured Conde, covered his head with a bag, and threw him into the trunk of the Mercedes to carry the groom to his stag surprise party.
According to David, most people around them were laughing during the kidnapping, but obviously someone else saw it differently from a distance and misinterpreted the situation, giving notice to the police.
Conde and David showed up at the police station to notify them that it was just a prank.