Employee ticketed for prank near Sandy Hook Elementary
The word “HELP” scrawled across a fogged-up window at a bank not far from where the Sandy Hook shooting occurred sparked concern in the Newtown community and resulted in a ticket for the person behind the message.
A Wells Fargo bank employee was ticketed for creating a public disturbance after she wrote the word as a joke on a bank window Friday morning, police told the Hartford Courant.
“Obviously this type of prank puts the general public, other bank employees and responding officers at risk, especially in the times and community we live in,” Lt. Aaron Bahamonde told the newspaper.
A bank customer spotted the word “HELP” written on the foggy window around 8:45 a.m. He phoned his wife, who works in the banking industry, and she urged him to call authorities.
Police attempted to call the bank, but to no avail. And when they arrived at the Wells Fargo off Church Hill Road, business appeared to be normal, though the front door was locked.
Bank staff told police an employee, Alexis Berry, wrote the word on the front door as a joke. The manager said the bank was not yet open, which is why the door was locked and their calls went unanswered.
Remembering Sandy Hook
Bahamonde warned against such pranks, pointing out that several officers had rushed to the location fearing some sort of hostage situation.
He also emphasized how dangerous the joke was, citing a recent “swatting” prank in Kansas that ended with authorities fatally shooting an unarmed man outside his home.
Several of the officers who responded to the bank were also among law enforcement present at the shooting scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which is located less than two miles away from the bank. Six staff members and 20 children were killed there by a gunman five years ago.
But Bahamonde said the prankster would have been up for a ticket regardless of their proximity to the deadly school shooting.
When asked whether the employee would have been ticketed in another town, the officer replied: “Probably, without a doubt — if not arrested.”