Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Five teens arrested for stealing Bloomingdale's bull as prank

VALRICO — What started as a prank ended with a trip to a juvenile lockup for five teens who admitted to stealing Bloomingdale High's 400-pound bronze bull.

After watching an MTV show about high school pranks, they got the idea to take the bull and hide it until Bloomingdale's football team played Brandon High. The plan: When the players arrived on the field, the bull would be standing on the 50-yard line, Hillsborough County sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway said.

The five students, all 16 or 17 years old, attend Brandon and Plant City high schools and Simmons Career Center. Their names are being withheld by the Times because of their ages.

The Sheriff's Office got a tip Wednesday that the bull was at a truck storage yard in Tampa. Someone reported the students to the Sheriff's Office, and the students' parents brought them Thursday to the Juvenile Assessment Center. They said they unbolted the bull from the concrete July 25, loaded it in a pickup truck, covered it with a tarp and took it to property owned by one of the students' relatives.

"They were contrite and apologetic," Callaway said. "All of them said they didn't think it would come to their arrest."

Bloomingdale principal Mark West is glad to have the bull back, but was sorry to hear it was a prank.

Still, he's glad the $8,000 bull wasn't harmed. It was returned to Bloomingdale, but isn't back at its normal spot. Administrators are considering safer locations.

Deputies deal with high school pranks occasionally, mostly at the level of school resource officers, Callaway said. The bull stealing, he added, was more than a prank. The students face a charge of grand theft, which is a felony.

The school district probably won't discipline the students because they were arrested, spokesman Steve Hegarty said.

Deputies believe the students didn't have bad intentions for the statue, which was ordered online by the student government after two years of fundraising. Several of the students and their parents could not be reached Friday for comment.

Bloomingdale teachers talk to the senior class throughout the year about how pranks can be harmful, West said. The MTV show the students watched featured pranks across the country, many of them which resulted in expulsions and criminal charges.

West said he plans to encourage Bloomingdale students not to retaliate.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

Five teens arrested for stealing Bloomingdale's bull as prank 08/01/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 1:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  5. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]