DOCUMENT: Bizarre, Crime

Now...Go Break The Windows

Crank caller wreaks havoc on Arkansas hotel, duping employees, guests

View Document

Now...Go Break The Windows

JUNE 9--A telephone prankster posing as a sprinkler company employee caused havoc Saturday morning at an Arkansas Holiday Inn when he convinced an employee to set off the hotel's fire alarm, smash windows, shut down electricity, and break a sprinkler head that flooded the building lobby.

The bizarre incident is detailed in a report prepared by the Conway Police Department, which, as seen here, photographed the aftermath of the June 6 incident.

According to police, Holiday Inn employee Christina Bergmann was at the front desk early Saturday when a male caller 'identified himself as an employee of Grennel Fire Sprinkler service.' The man told Bergmann that there was a problem with the hotel's fire sprinklers and that she 'needed to pull the fire alarm to reset them,' cops reported. 'Bergmann proceeded to pull the fire alarm at this point, causing the audible alarm.'

Bergmann, aided by a hotel guest, would subsequently follow a series of directions from the caller that would result in about $50,000 in damages to the hotel's windows, carpets and electrical system. Hotel guests, who were evacuated during the incident, were allowed back into the Holiday Inn after police and fire officials determined that the caller was an imposter.

Since a similar prank call was made to a Holiday Inn in Little Rock, Conway cops alerted fellow Arkansas law enforcement officials that 'more of these calls could be coming in,' according to the police report. Rusty Brown, the Holiday Inn guest who helped Bergmann follow the prankster's instructions, told TSG he was 'an innocent bystander and got involved in domestic terrorism.'

Brown, 36, remarked that there was 'absolute panic in that hotel,' adding that, 'all I did was make it worse. I'm not proud of breaking windows. It is very disheartening.' (4 pages)