Lawrence police say they're hearing reports of vandalism that are typically connected to the end of school terms and upcoming high school graduations, and they are warning students that such pranks can lead to serious criminal charges.
Police Sgt. Trent McKinley said the department received information on Thursday about a series of incidents in the neighborhood around L.R. "Dad" Perry Park, near Harvard Road and Monterey Way, which involved such things as toilet paper thrown around trees and houses; cars covered in shrink wrap; ketchup and mustard smeared on cars and the sides of houses; and plastic utensils stuck into people's yards.
"It may seem funny at the time, but it can also cause damage to someone's property," McKinley said.
If a person is caught and the victim presses charges, he said, it could result in a misdemeanor arrest, or even a felony arrest if the damage is estimated at more than $1,000.
McKinley said police are working through school resource officers to emphasize the message that such pranks can cause serious damage, and they can also lead to confrontations that can escalate into violence.
So far, he said, police have not received any formal complaints of criminal damage to property stemming from school-related vandalism, although at least one person has called to inform them that incidents have occurred. But he said police will be patrolling neighborhoods and school properties in an attempt to deter such incidents and identify those responsible if something does occur.
McKinley said police often hear of such incidents at this time of year. Often, he said, the homes that are targeted are either the homes of high school students, teachers or other school staff.
He said anyone who is a victim or witness to pranks that appear to cause damage or injury should notify police, 832-7509.