TAMPA — Just after midnight, the cavalry arrived.
Nearly a dozen police officers — backed up by a helicopter that whipped overhead — pulled into quiet Palma Ceia.
Stolen car? Home invasion?
It turned out to be less serious: an attempted senior prank at Plant High School.
Twenty Plant seniors had begun "Saran wrapping" the high school campus, said Linda Cobbe, district spokeswoman. The students were also caught with dead fish, which they apparently planned to incorporate into the plastic.
"They hadn't gotten too far," said Cobbe.
Police responded to the school after getting a report of people skulking around the campus Sunday night. Sixteen students were detained until parents came to claim them.
Nothing on school property was damaged, and the students cleaned up the mess, she said.
Police filed no charges, said department spokeswoman Andrea Davis. She said the helicopter was already in the air on another call and detoured to Plant before officers had sized up the scene.
Senior pranks aren't a huge surprise in the days before graduation. So far area school districts haven't seen many.
"We have not, knock on wood," said Pasco schools spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli.
In 2009, two Hudson High School students commandeered the public address system on the last day of classes and ordered seniors to come to a stage near the cafeteria. Those two students were not allowed to participate in their graduation ceremony.
Cobbe, the Hillsborough school district spokeswoman, said the Plant High students who "had the daylights scared out of them" likely won't be punished since there was no damage.
But the principal had an announcement for seniors Monday: Pull any more stunts, and forget walking at the June 3 graduation.
Reach Jodie Tillman at email@example.com or (813) 226-3374.