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'Senior prank' at Freedom High School leads to arrests of two Lutz teens

LUTZ — With black spray paint still on his hands, William Chaplin told a police officer it was just a "senior prank," an arrest report states.

School officials at Freedom High were not amused.

Wednesday morning, Chaplin, 18, and Christopher Ell, 17, both of Lutz, were arrested and charged with criminal mischief, trespassing on school property and possession of burglary tools.

Spray paint covered the stairs, lockers, floor and walls; toilet paper hung from trees; and broken eggs were spread out across the campus, the report said.

Phrases such as "Seniors 10" and "09 Revenge" as well as vulgar drawings and racist words were spray painted in red, black, blue and green.

Witnesses told police they saw Ell, who is a senior at Freedom, and Chaplin, a roofer, at the school about 2:15 a.m., the report said. They told police they saw the two with a bag of spray paint cans at their feet and tools in their hands.

After a warning from the witnesses, Chaplin and Ell took off, but a police officer pulled them over as they left the school.

Chaplin was taken to the Orient Road Jail, where he was released Wednesday morning on $4,250 bail. Police took Ell to a juvenile detention center.

It took a team of maintenance personnel a few hours Wednesday morning to clean it all up, said Stephen Hegarty, a spokesman for Hillsborough County schools. The damage is estimated to be about $1,000 to $2,000, he said.

"Rather than calling this a prank, we are calling this a crime," Hegarty said.

"We tell our students: 'Don't engage in senior pranks, because you will get in trouble.' "

'Senior prank' at Freedom High School leads to arrests of two Lutz teens 05/26/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:40pm]
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