Innocent April Fools prank: criminal charges?

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www.gamespot.com said:
Power-up prank lands gamers in trouble
Ohio girls face potential charges for joke after bomb squad is called; teenagers made life-size Mario power-up boxes, hung them around town.

Games have gotten some kids in trouble again, but this time it's a far cry from the Devin Moore case, which continues to make headlines. This time the source of the problem wasn't an M-rated game like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or Doom, it was the seemingly innocuous Super Mario Bros.

In the town of Ravenna, Ohio, five teenage girls, ages 16 and 17, crafted some life-sized power-up boxes modeled after those in the NES classic. The cardboard boxes were covered in shiny, gold wrapping paper and had the black question marks familiar to most gamers. As an April Fools joke, the girls laid 17 of these boxes around the town in public spaces Friday morning.

The humor was lost on some residents, however. After noticing one package on the steps of a church, a concerned citizen reported the "suspicious package" to local authorities, who called in the county's hazardous materials unit and the bomb squad.

Upon further inspection, no materials designed to harm people, mushrooms to increase a person's size, or flowers that bestow the ability to project bouncing fireballs were found inside the boxes. The packages were empty.

Ravenna Police Chief Randall McCoy told the online edition of the Record-Courier that one girl came into the police department with one of her parents and claimed responsibility, saying it was just a joke.

Apparently, the girls got the idea from the Web site Quantz.com, which gives detailed instructions on how to make the boxes. The Web site intended the posting to inspire art projects, and several subversive artists have submitted photos of their Mario blocks in action across the country.

The girls face possible criminal charges for their actions. While most in the online community think the authority's actions are a tad extreme, McCoy defends the proceedings of his department.

"The potential is always present when dealing with a suspicious package that it could be deadly," McCoy told the Record-Courier. "In today's day and age, you just cannot do this kind of stuff."

A posting on Quantz.com responds to the incident in Ravenna. "Not everyone has the same cultural context and not everyone is relaxed about public spaces. [The idea of the project] is to bring a smile to people's faces, to get them to connect with their neighbors, to bring color into an otherwise grey urban landscape. [We] are deeply sorry that things are not working out in Ravenna."
What do you guys think about this? I think you are going a bit far to press charges on some girls who just did this as an April Fools prank. Has the world really gone so far that every package is a potential bomb?
 
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Pressing charges for this is BS. They should honestly just get a slap on the wrist and be told not to do it again. And yeah, in this day and age, it's always assumed to be a nuke in a box.
 
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Hmm, it's kinda funny if you think about it.

"It's Mario! Run away before he explodes!!!"

And yeah, I think they went a bit too far with pressing charges. The box turned out to be an innocent joke, after all. It didn't hurt anybody, or anything, so they're going to have a bit of trouble pressing charges if nothing was lost or damaged as a result.
 
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And in other news Jack Thompson adds yet another bit of information to his arsenal as he continues his delusional crusade against the gaming industry -_-;

It was a dumb thing to do, but pressing charges is way to much, especially in the context's that the girls did this
 
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I have to admit it's kind of a sketchy thing to do. But... criminal charges? That's some serious overreaction right there.
 
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Agreed. It's the fault who ever reported it to the to local authorities...
 
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It allways makes me laugh when your told to report "mysterious boxes", its one of the new rules where I work, and is a great excuse for not crushing the hundreds of boxes we get in the stock room.
"well, I never saw em get put there, and to me they look... mysterious..."
Same as the rule for destroying the contents of the bins used for bad carrier bags everynight before closing "so they dont catch fire..." oh yes, few know of the conbustable qualitys of plastic carrier bags...

Allthough, knowing my luck if this was done where I live, the first thing i would have done was attack the box, and there would probably be a bomb inside.
 
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omg there is nothing in the box! "Men, arrest them!"

If there was maybe something dangerous IN the box, sure maybe. But if there's nothing inside, come the **** on people. It's a god damn box. I'm going to wake up christmas day and call the cops on my parents because there are a bunch of mysterious boxes in my house with shiny foil on them.
 
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i feel sorry for the girls, it was a pretty funny joke, and a good idea, unfortunately some people didn't get it. I agree, a slap on the wrists here is all that is needed, they did waste the time of the bombsquad/hazardouse material people but they didn't mean to and they are young.
 
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If Metal Gear Solid has taught me anything it's that every box is suspicious. You don't know what could be in there.

Criminal charges is too far though, especially seeing as it was April Fools day and all, you'd have thought they'd would've seen the funny side.
 

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They placed empty boxes around the neighborhood?! WTF? I'm calling for the death penalty.
 
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Yeah ROFL. I seriously laugehd when I saw pictures and the bomb squad acually checking if there was a bomb in one of the boxes.
 

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