Hotels hit by costly prank calls

June 11, 2009 1:37:24 PM PDT
The Internet may be inspiring a new generation of prank phone calls -- one that has caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Authorities say there have been eight cases of the calls in four states in which the caller urges hotel desk workers or guests to set off fire alarms or sprinklers.

In some cases, the caller persuades the mark to break windows, supposedly to silence alarms or because of a nonexistent natural gas leak.

The phone call cost one Arkansas motel $50,000 in damage from a sprinkler system and broken windows. In Nebraska, a man was persuaded to drive his truck through the door of a hotel lobby.

Authorities suspect more than one person is behind the calls, and some could be inspired by Internet sites about phone pranks.

They say felony charges may be filed against whoever is responsible.

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