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Monday, May 25, 2009

CCSU athletes arrested for popcorn fire prank in dorm

ccsu athletes arrested | senior pranks and stupid stuffTwo Central Connecticut State University athletes and a former school football player were arrested early Monday after pulling an alleged stupid stuff and funny pranks stunt that drew police and firefighters to a dormitory.

Matthew Dortch, 18, a wide receiver for the school’s football team, Patrick Robinson, 18, a pitcher for the baseball team that is still playing games for this 2009 season, and Christopher Scifo, 19, a former football player who transferred to a Florida university, are accused of setting off a fire alarm with burning popcorn after they tied the doors shut to several dorm rooms reported by the CCSU police department.

A CCSU officer responded to a fire alarm on the third floor of Vance Hall at around 3:14 a.m. to discover a “quad” of dorm rooms was full of smoke. He went to the kitchen and found two full bags of burnt and charred popcorn in the microwave that was still on.

While checking the rest of the six floor building for fire, a residential assistant alerted them that two dorm rooms on the fifth floor had been tied shut with heavy fishing string. Police also found several others on the fourth floor had also been tied shut.

The residents of those rooms squeezed through a small opening in the doors to get to exit for the fire alarm, a police report indicates. Though during the incident no one was injured, school officials said they had offered counseling services to the students at Vance Hall where the incident occurred.

“A dean did meet with all the students in Vance Hall and they are handling it well, We did offer them any services if they felt they needed to talk but things appear to be going well.” said university spokesman Mark McLaughlin.

Police connected the three to the incident through several student and staff statements. Scifo allegedly admitted that he tied the doors shut while Dortch and Robinson purposely burnt the popcorn to set the fire alarm off.

“I didn’t intend to hurt anyone just get a few laughs,” Scifo told police.

McLaughlin said federal student privacy laws barred him from discussing whether Dortch and Robinson had received scholarships to play sports at the school. Also, he couldn’t comment on their status with the sports teams after their arrest. He said the Dortch and Robinson were put on “interim suspension” while the university conducts its investigation into the case.

Judge Joan K. Alexander of the New Britain Superior Court stipulated that the three were barred from campus unless they were attending academic or disciplinary hearings and they were to have no contact with each other. They are charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, reckless burning, first-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace. All three were released after posting bond and were due back in court June 5.

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