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Pranks, Consequences, & You:
Jail isn’t Funny & Global Pandemics Are No Laughing Matter!

A YouTube Video That Ended in an Arrest

Pictured: Aldo Gonzalez, the man who filmed the hazmat suit prank

We live in a world where kids spend more time on the internet than they do outdoors. With YouTube and Tik Tok there is an endless supply of prank ideas for kids to use on their parents or even strangers. Sometimes these pranks seem harmless  yet there are victims. When the only one left laughing will be the prankster, the wannabe comedian may want to rethink their plans. This is especially true if the law can become involved. 

Take this incident for example from March of 2020. At the time, Aldo Gonzalez was a 23 year old resident of Las Vegas, Nevada who had a “hilarious” idea.  He and an unidentified juvenile friend of his would dress up in painter suits and go around a local Walmart spraying people with water for a YouTube video.  The two young men hoped the video would go viral.  

Seems funny right? There were two problems with the prank though – it was taking place when the world was just beginning to come to grips with the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic was happening, and no one at the store knew it was water (except – of course – for the pranksters).

Since the victims of the prank did not know what was being sprayed, the Walmart was evacuated and the police were called.  The shoppers (understandably) thought they were being sprayed with a much more harmful substance than water.

The police showed up to Gonzalez’s house and arrested him for spraying a hoax substance in a public place….and burglary!  He was the one behind the camera and his friend was the one running around spraying people.  While juvenile records aren’t public, we can reasonably assume the young man that did the spraying faced serious legal consequences as well. 

We see pranks like this on social media all the time thinking it’s harmless and funny. Somethings we might even want to try for ourselves. Next time you see a prank online think about the consequences and if others would find it funny.

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Questions:

1. What charges might the juvenile suspect face for the crime, and what long-term consequences might they face as adults for this incident?

2. Why was Gonzalez charged with burglary?

3. What other state charges could Gonzalez face besides burglary and ‘spraying a hoax substance’?

4. What federal charges – if any – could Gonzalez and the juvenile have faced, or why would they have not faced state charges?

5. What are some other “pranks” that might result in a young person being criminally charged, and what might those charges be?

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers.  For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

https://www.8newsnow.com/news/local-news/report-suspect-wore-hazmat-suit-sprayed-liquid-in-walmart-to-make-funny-video-to-post-online/ 

Contributed by Saralynn. Lindsay




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