Roanoke Rapids High School students face possible charges after senior prank goes too far

ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (WTVD) -- Classes were canceled Tuesday at Roanoke Rapids High School due to a senior prank that school officials and police say went too far.

Staff arrived to campus around 6:30 a.m. and noticed toilet paper hanging from trees, spray paint on several windows across campus and the school's quad area, and door locks with super glue stuck in them.

Once they entered the building, staff noticed a large amount of vegetable oil on three of the building's floors and the stairwells.

"They had enough time within a few hours to get in and do damage," said Roanoke Rapids Police Department Interim Chief Bobby Martin. "They turn something you laugh at, you ride by and say 'hey look you see the teepee in the trees like that'...they just took it a little bit too far this time and caused extensive damage."

Martin and a school official said the damage is estimated between four and six-thousand dollars.

"There's been senior pranks done before. And while we don't encourage them or condone them if they're done in a manner that's not destructive and it's just kind of something funny, you understand that," said Acting Superintendent Larry Catalano for the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District. "But when it's malicious and destructive and interferes with the school day, that's when we have an issue."

Catalano said it's likely the students involved will not be allowed to graduate in the school's May 31 commencement. "The extent of the damage it went beyond being a prank, it went to being a crime," he added.

Acting Chief Bobby Martin said those crimes will include felony charges of breaking and entering and damage to property.

Investigators with RRPD are reviewing surveillance footage from the school to aid in making an arrest.

"If you're in a store and you're shopping and you specifically buy (toilet paper and vegetable oil), there are video cameras in stores and we do follow up on stores in the area," Martin said. "I have a good feeling that the individuals will be identified here shortly."
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