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Wave of Hotel Pranks
As noted by Beasjt in the forum, there's been a case of a phone prankster tricking a couple into smashing up a hotel room by telling them there's a gas leak. I reported a case of an identical prank in April.

The Boston Herald describes these incidents as part of a "wave of hotel pranks":

The Monday incident follows others from around the country:
In Arkansas, a caller posing as a sprinkler company employee convinced a motel employee to do more than $50,000 in damage to a motel as part of a "test" of the motel’s emergency alarms.
At a Comfort Suites in Daphne, Ala., a caller ordered a guest to turn on the sprinklers for a fire that wasn’t. The result: more than $10,000 in damage.
In Nebraska, a Hampton Inn employee was convinced by a caller to pull the fire alarm, later telling him the only way to silence the alarm was by breaking the lobby windows. The employee enlisted the help of a nearby trucker, who drove his rig through the front door.
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 10, 2009

To me this appears to be part of the post-9/11 culture of "do whatever an authority figure tells you to do." Take off your shoes at the airport; don't carry more than two ounces of shampoo; stand in the "Free Speech Zone" if you want to protest, etc.

"Gee, someone I don't know and have no way of verifying claimed to be a boss and told me to turn on the sprinklers. Guess I better just do it without question."
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Jul 10, 2009  at  02:24 AM
Weird. THere was a report of a local incident of someone prank calling a hotel to get stupid people to do stupid things on the 100 o'clock news last night.
Posted by yoyogod  on  Fri Jul 10, 2009  at  12:04 PM
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri Jul 10, 2009  at  12:24 PM
wow, your local news airs pretty late.
Posted by Anonymous  on  Fri Jul 10, 2009  at  05:38 PM
How many of these stories are the actual hoax?

And if this actually happened, why the assumption that the couple is telling the truth? Isn't even more likely that they just trashed the place and then lied?
Posted by Joe  on  Fri Jul 10, 2009  at  06:42 PM
You also have to wonder in these cases, how sure are we that the people involved were actually ignorant that what they were doing wasn't what they should be doing? I can readily imagine somebody getting such a call and thinking, "Hey, this bogus call will give me the perfect excuse to set off the fire sprinkler system! I always wanted to do that!"
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sat Jul 11, 2009  at  04:22 PM
Posted by dta mike 85  in  northern ohio  on  Mon Jul 13, 2009  at  03:52 AM
The Smoking Gun did a major expose on these guys.
They're not "pranksters." -and I love good prank.
These guys cross the line, big-time.
Posted by Dr.T  in  KC  on  Wed Aug 12, 2009  at  09:03 PM
I agree , these guys cross the line , pulling a prank is for fun not for destruction , what if someone actually gets hurt or even dies in this stupid pranks ?
Posted by Hall  in  United Kingdom  on  Tue Apr 19, 2011  at  02:02 AM
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