INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 12, 2016) -- An employee at an Indianapolis Jack in the Box falls victim to a cruel practical joke.
According to a report from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, someone called the Jack in the Box at 2130 North Post Road and said employees needed to do a safety inspection late Sunday night.
The caller, who posed as a public safety official, then instructed an employee to rip the fire extinguisher out and break a window because there was a gas leak at the location. The worker followed the instructions, the report said, and broke a window.
She later realized it was a prank.
“As a public safety official, it’s concerning to me these type of activities are going on,” said Indianapolis Fire Department fire marshal Courtney Gordon.
Chief Gordon knows the hoax isn’t unique to Indiana. Similar pranks have been reported in at least 5 states.
In most of the cases, the callers pretend to be with the local fire department.
This month the windows of a Minnesota Burger King were broken out by employees who were told they needed to keep the building from exploding.
The same scam played out this year at a Burger King in California, as well as one in Oklahoma.
Prank callers also convinced employees at two fast food stores in Arizona to smash their windows.
“It’s not a good situation for the community, for businesses or for fire fighters. It costs money when you have to repair windows or these alarms,” said Gordon.
The truth is, in almost every case, it’s the fire department that answers phone calls to check out a gas leak, not the other way around.
“Usually what happens is we receive a call from someone at that location who reports there is a gas odor,” said Gordon.
In addition to breaking the window, the employee at the Indianapolis Jack in the Box also tore out a fire extinguisher system from the ceiling.
Chief Gordon says there is simply no way anyone with the fire department would ever instruct employees to destroy private property.
“We will not, I repeat never, give instructions over the phone to tear up property,” said Gordon.
So far there are no suspects locally.