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YouTube-era crime and punishment

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Here’s a novel punishment: A Florida judge has sentenced two pranksters to one minute of YouTube shame.

With the popularity of Google’s video sharing site has come an unfortunate rise in pranks from people chasing their 15 minutes of web fame. Kids plot, film, and proudly upload their practical jokes – and sometimes, those videos wind up becoming the evidence that’s used against them in court.

That was the case for two unnamed boys who were arrested after flouting their “fire in the hole” stunt. The gag revolves around pulling into a restaurant’s drive-through window and ordering a drink; once the waitress hands you the soda, you yell, “fire in the hole” and throw the beverage back in her face.

These scofflaws pulled off the prank last July, soaking Jessica Ceponis at a Taco Bell outside Orlando. The very clever Ms. Ceponis found the video, anonymously befriended the kids online, and appealed to their hubris to confirm their identities. After a call to one boy’s mother, and another to the police, two of the boys in the car (the 16-year-old driver and the 15-year-old videographer) were arrested on battery and criminal-mischief charges.

On top of their fine and community service, the judge ordered them to post a follow-up video on YouTube. This apology, which the boys wrote and filmed themselves, had to warn other kids about the consequences of pranks. (More than 7,300 viewers so far.) It’s not the most exciting video, but I like discipline that think outside of the box. Once the boys have fulfilled their sentence, the charges against them will be dropped – but the YouTube video will live on.

[Via USA Today]


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