Tippecanoe and Terror Too: Engineering Student Charged With Terroristic Mischief for Leaving Box with Wheel Lock, Ticket, and $20 in Hallway

Roy C. Sun, 21, is a smart senior student who hopes to be an engineer. He is a senior student at Purdue University in Indiana. Purdue police also say that he is a terrorist after he left a suspicious box in the hallway of the university’s Visitor Information Center. The police surrounded the area, used a small x-ray machine, and evacuated the building — only to discover that the box contained a wheel lock, a Purdue parking ticket and $20. Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington has charged him as a terrorist.

Sun has been charged with terroristic mischief, triggering protests by other students, here.

This is the first terrorist charge ever filed by Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington.

Obviously, the incident caused embarrassment to the police. But Chief John Cox insists that Sun must have wanted to terrorize the community: “The clerk was there. If his intent was to pay his ticket, the clerk was there. But they went around the corner, into a hallway and out of view.”

There is now even a Facebook page entitled “Free Roy Sun.”

The Class C felony is punishable by a maximum of eight years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Possession of stolen property is a Class D felony, which is punishable by up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

For the full story, click here.

16 thoughts on “Tippecanoe and Terror Too: Engineering Student Charged With Terroristic Mischief for Leaving Box with Wheel Lock, Ticket, and $20 in Hallway”

  1. AY.
    So I was wrong on both counts. DOH!
    Here in the UK they are known as wheel clamps and have been used by rogue “parking enforcement” companies to extort money from drivers. They see a bit of cleared land, there are no “No Parking” signs so leave the car there while the pop to the shops or whatever. Upon returning, there is one of these devices on their car and a notice on the windshield informing of a several hundred pound “release” fee.
    Thank goodness for battery powered angle grinders…..

  2. sus,

    If you need a job, you might want to think about working as a “Behavior Detection Officer.” Given your uncanny insights into the motivations underlying certain behaviors, the TSA could use your skills.


    Feeling Nervous? 3,000 Behavior Detection Officers Will Be Watching You at the Airport This Thanksgiving

    By Liliana Segura, AlterNet. Posted November 24, 2009.

    “Nearly 100,000 passengers were pulled aside by TSA behavior watchers last year, and it remains to be proven whether you can spot terrorists by the looks on their faces.

    For the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the answer is yes. For the past few years, airports across the country have been using what many call “behavioral surveillance” to weed out potential hijackers among us, by covertly examining travelers’ facial expressions and body language as they go through security. Unlike those airport employees who herd us along as we remove our shoes and relinquish all liquids over three ounces (with dubious results), this new program, named “Screening Passengers by Observational Techniques,” or “SPOT,” is carried out by TSA employees who have been trained to monitor travelers’ faces and movements.”

  3. Sorry for appearing a little dumb (it’s been a long day today) but what do you mean by a “wheel lock”.
    Do you mean a device for locking a cars steering wheel or an antique pistol?
    Even if the latter, This chap would hardly be able to carry out an act of great terror with only one shot and having to re-load through the muzzle.
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

  4. “His intention was to cause the chaos that he did cause. Why else leave the box?”

    It’s good to have a mind reader join the blog so that we can see the evildoer’s intentions, since nothing in the story supports it. Your talent would be so useful to LEO’s so that they could stop crimes before they were committed. As to why he left the box, literally dozens of possibility exists, so it’s great to have a mind reader to cut to the chase. All the State would need at trial is your testimony, forget other evidence, when your insight can let the jury know his true thoughts.

  5. He should be charged. His intention was to cause the chaos that he did cause. Why else leave the box?

  6. From posting: “This is the first terrorist charge ever filed by Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington.”

    His mother must be so proud.
    Where I was working not long (6-7 months) after 9-11 had several out-buildings, a main street and a parade ground where many employees ate their lunch. My homies and I were eating lunch on a bench on the parade ground one day and an unmarked panel truck came up the main street and stopped in front of one of the out buildings which was next to the bus stop. The truck driver got out with a package, looked around, sat the package on a newspaper dispenser and left. I and mine got up and moved farther away and one of my group reported the package to the Security desk. People are still jumpy about packages left unattended and the student may require a thump up side of his head and a “What were you thinking” but not arrest IMO.

    Our security people took care of the box in a manner that left something to be desired. The 2nd in command of the force (of 50+) came out with a half dozen reinforcements, examined the suspect box visually and then picked it up and shook it. In an alternate time-line somewhere/when I’m sure we were all blown to smithereens 🙂

  7. Them terrerists don’t need no Jeehad, theys done won a’gin US. WMDs is everwhar…

    “Rosenbarger said terroristic mischief is when a person knowingly or intentionally places a device with the intent to cause a reasonable person to believe that it is a weapon of mass destruction.”

    That mugshot is pruff positive ’cause he got them slanted terreristick eye sockets.

  8. Bad judgment in these paranoid times, but unworthy of criminal charges. The judge should dismiss the cases and admonish the student that while the law supports the right to protest, it doesn’t countenance causing a panic for others at the school or wasting the time of law enforcement. An open box would have served the same purpose as the sealed one. As you say, this is smart kid, and he has both the benefit and the burden of that characteristic.

  9. He is a senior student at Purdue University in Indiana.


    Isn’t Purdue a brand name of Chickens? Well, there ya go.

  10. If he was able to remove the wheel lock, I’m thinking of something like the infamous “boot”, then he should be given extra credit.

  11. And people wonder why the police are often seen as the enemy and prosecutors as mindless drones.

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