Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

No Foolin', April Fool's Pranks Can Be Arresting

Today is April Fool's Day, which means tomorrow you'll probably read about a few April Fool's pranks-gone-wrong that resulted in arrests.

The line between a well-played joke and a crime can be fine indeed. And with the proliferation of viral pranks on the Internet, jokesters may be pushing the limits of what is legal.

Here's a look at five April Fool's pranks that ended up with some jokers under arrest:

  1. 'Batman's' Facebook threat. A Maine man who liked to dress up as Batman was arrested on a "terrorizing" charge when he posted on Facebook that he would blow up a hospital unless he was paid $1 million. The bumbling Batman, whose true identity is Christopher Schwartz, told police he was kidding, CBS News reported. He was later forced to apologize on Facebook as well.

  2. 'Time-traveling' trespasser. Eloi Cole allegedly broke into the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland and made the claim that he had traveled back in time to stop mankind from using the Collider to destroy the world. Cole reportedly tried to disrupt the machine by stopping supplies of Mountain Dew to the experiment's vending machines, CNET reports. When caught, Cole said that he was looking for fuel for his time machine's power unit.

  3. Joking about a gunman. A Cleveland City Hall secretary caused a scare when she jokingly told her boyfriend there was a gunman in the building, the Associated Press reported. Her boyfriend did what responsible boyfriends do, and called 911.

  4. Fake armed robbery. Three friends played a joke on another friend by pretending to rob the unsuspecting friend's store, The Times of Israel reported. The pranksters made off with some money, and the store owner called the cops. When the friends later returned to deliver the punchline, officers did not find it amusing and charged them with armed robbery.

  5. Clever cops' April Fool's sting operation. Tampa Bay police were able to nab dozens of wanted suspects by luring them with a phony offer of government stimulus checks. The wanted criminals were told they were eligible for more than $600 worth of stimulus funds if they simply showed up at the offices of the so-called "West Central Florida Stimulus Coalition," The Tampa Tribune reported. The coalition was actually run by cops, and when the suspects arrived, they were arrested.

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