James Tyler Markle, 19, has been arrested in another prank case. In this case, his prank at a Wendy’s in Texas cost over $20,000 and resulted in charges of one count of terrorizing and one count of felony criminal damage to property.
The prankster posted the prank on YouTube, which ultimately proved his undoing:
The incident occurred on June 21st when Markle allegedly called the restaurant pretending to be from the corporate office. The caller convinced the staff to “test” the fire-suppression system–resulting in flooding the restaurant with foam. He then instructed them to evacuate the restaurant and smash all of the windows to vent the toxic fumes. One employee was cut by glass in the process. At one point, Markle instructed employees to urinate on the worker’s cut on his neck to neutralize the toxicity. That is when an officer showed up and stopped them.
Police say that Markle tried the same prank at other businesses and that he was part of a group called “Pranknet.” They worked with TheSmokingGun.com to uncover his identity.
The prank could cost him a maximum of 18 years, though I find the increasing use of terrorism charges in such cases to be problematic. A felony charge is warranted but we are defining terrorism so broadly that it is losing its meaning.
We have seen very similar prank cases recently, here. In some cases, it is the manager or the employees who carry out the prank. It is astonishing what people will do after receiving calls from strangers, including people who were willing to given themselves rectal examinations, here.
While in torts “the volunteer suffers no wrong,” there are exceptions for fraud, mistake, or misrepresentation.
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