It's a line that has accompanied a seemingly endless number of newspaper stories describing the circumstances of criminal cases: "What started out as a harmless prank, ended in serious charges." Unfortunately, this line was written yet again in stories across the nation this past summer in reference to the actions of a group of Connecticut teens.
According to police reports, a group of young people in a black sport utility vehicle pulled into a Cumberland Farms parking lot in the early morning hours of August 20. Shortly thereafter, one of the SUV's occupants exited the vehicle and started cutting down two coffee promotion signs featuring David Hasselhoff, star of such television shows as "Baywatch" and "Knight Rider."
While this may seem like a strange thing to do, the theft of the Cumberland Farms Hasselhoff signs has become something of a popular prank among young people here on the East Coast. Indeed, a news station reported that in the summer of 2012, over 500 of them were stolen from stores.
The theft of the signs caught the attention of the 36-year-old clerk working the night shift, who went outside in an attempt to stop the person from loading them into the back of the SUV.
Unfortunately, in the commotion that ensued, the 19-year-old driver of the SUV panicked and attempted to drive away. Unfortunately, the clerk was somehow dragged behind the SUV before being released and landing on his head.
The clerk was taken to an area hospital and is still recovering from serious head injuries.
A few weeks back, the SUV driver turned himself into the police and was eventually charged with second-degree assault and second-degree reckless endangerment. He was freed after posting a $10,000 bond and his case has since been continued to later this month.
It remains to be seen how this case will develop. However, it should nevertheless serve as a reminder to all young people to stop and consider the possible repercussions of what they believe to be an otherwise harmless prank.
If you've are under investigation for theft or any other property crime, it's imperative to consider speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn more about your rights and your options.
Source: NBC Connecticut, "Case continued for suspect in Shelton David Hasselhoff sign case," Oct. 24, 2013; The Connecticut Post, "Man arrested in theft of Hasselhoff signs," Wes Duplantier, Oct. 10, 2013