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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Serial prank caller target hotels

serial prank caller of hotelsA frantic man urges hotel desk workers or guests to set off a fire sprinkler, sound an alarm or bust windows. The calls have all been similar pranks. Eight cases have been reported in four states in recent days and authorities say felony charges could be filed against whoever is making the calls. Fire Marshal Ed Paulk of Alabama said four hotels have been targeted by the calls since last week, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage.

"It's happening all over," said Fire Marshal Ed Paulk of Alabama, where four hotels have been targeted by the calls since last week, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage. "We're actively trying to track this and find out who is doing this."

Rupesh Desai, General Manager of a Comfort Suites in Daphne, said a prank call about a fire alarm resulted in $10,000 in water damage last Friday. Around the same time, a caller convinced guests to bust windows at a sister hotel in Saraland, about 25 miles away because of a natural gas leak that didn't exist. A man was even convinced to drive his truck through a door of a hotel lobby in Nebraska, supposedly to turn off a fire alarm. And in California, a duped worker activated a sprinkler at the front desk, dousing computers, phones and other electrical equipment.

Trying to prevent more people from being fooled by this shocking pranks, trade groups are telling member companies and hotels to remind workers about basic emergency procedures like calling managers or security companies before doing anything drastic. Paulk said investigators suspect more than one person is behind the calls, and some could be inspired by Internet sites about phone pranks.



Robert Bryant said...

This article is a prank in itself.
Pulling the fire alarm manually WILL NOT set off the fire sprinklers. Heat is the only thing that will activate sprinkler heads and the slight loss of water pressure in the line then causes the fire alarm to automatically activate.

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