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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Pranksters joke about anthrax in Dunn Hall

A white, powdery substance sprinkled over a door in Dunn Hall last week has left University Police Department (UPD) officials warning against pranks related to the anthrax scare in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Late Tuesday night, UPD officers and two members of Environmental Health and Safety, one wearing a protective suit and mask, arrived at the third-floor Dunn Hall room to test the substance.
They determined it was talcum powder, said UPD Director Bob Wiatt.
“In these times of increased anxiety, a hoax or prank or joke of this nature will not be tolerated any more than those claiming to have a weapon or explosive device in an airport, or yelling `fire’ in a crowded theater,” Wiatt said in an Oct. 17 email.
Pranks of this nature are subject to state and federal criminal penalties, Wiatt said.
The powder was found on the door last Monday, but not reported by the resident to Dunn Hall staff until Tuesday night, said Dunn Hall Director Michael Gregorash. Hall staff do not know who left the talcum powder on the door or what their motives were, Gregorash said.
“We wanted to err on the side of good judgement when they reported the powder to us,” Gregorash said. “We support what UPD said in the email, and we think it was an inappropriate action, especially now, and is something that does not need to occur.”
Wiatt said pranks take attention and resources away from real threats.
“Those sparking unneeded investigations should be aware they are stretching thin an overburdened force of officers and health officials required to promptly investigate all allegations or suspicions of `terrorism,’ ” Wiatt said.

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