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Roseville police say pranks could turn deadly

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Roseville police believe recent late-night incidents of vandalism and trespassing are being committed by teenagers playing pranks — pranks that could potentially turn deadly. Police have received several reports of people trespassing on private property, shutting off power to homes, egging houses, “doorbell ditching” and throwing heavy objects at doors in the middle of the night. At least two incidents were reported last week, while many more have been reported in recent weeks, particularly in west Roseville, according to Dee Dee Gunther of the Roseville Police Department. “There’s definitely a chance that kids who think they are just pranking could run into some really angry and frightened homeowners,” Gunther said. Steven Stansberry lives in the Hillsborough neighborhood in east Roseville and said he was recently awakened in the middle of the night to what he now believes was a couple of teenagers pulling a prank. He said when he heard a knock on his door at 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 29, he opened it to find fishing line attached to his door knocker that led 150 feet around the corner of his house. Stansberry followed the string to some nearby bushes where two young males jumped out and swiftly ran away. “It could have very well been a prank and they were just out for kicks,” Stansberry said. “But the thing is, the prank could have turned very deadly.” Stansberry, who did have a gun in the house, said the first thing in his mind was to go into defense mode and protect his family because he did not know if someone was attempting to break into his home. “Someone a little bit crazier than me might have taken their gun out with them,” he said. “Those parents could have been getting a knock on their door at three in the morning from the Sherriff stating that their son was shot and killed for doing something stupid.” Gunther said that recent reports of residential burglaries have put people on alert and made them more sensitive to crashes and noises in the middle of the night. The city of Roseville has a curfew in place between 10 p.m. and 6 p.m., aimed to discourage minors from wandering around at night, Gunther said. Gunther said that parents are ultimately responsible for the actions of their minor children and children who are found wandering around after curfew could be hit with a fine or have to attend a diversion class. Children found trespassing or committing pranks could also be charged with prowling on private property and/or vandalism, both misdemeanor crimes, she said. “We’re trying to get the word out to remind parents that they need to know after hours where their kids are and what they are doing,” Gunther said. “We certainly don’t want any tragedies to happen.” Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.