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Farmington homecoming prank leads to charges

But for one unfortunate event early in the week, Farmington’s 2014 homecoming week was relatively quiet.

It didn’t start out that way, though. Thanks to a prank on the first night of this year’s homecoming week, 17 students now face possible charges from the Dakota County attorney’s office.

It’s a lesson learned for all involved. In this particular case, Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist said, that lesson is that the police department is taking a zero-tolerance stand when it comes to endangering the lives of students – even if it’s only a prank.

According to Farmington police officer Brianna Larson, who was filling in as school resource officer last week, there was a “war” between the junior and senior class during homecoming week. Late in the evening of Sept. 27, a group of seniors “kidnapped” four students from the junior class. Two of the students had their hands zip-tied behind their backs, and were placed in the trunk of a car. Two more students were placed in the back seat of the car. One of those student’s hands were also zip-tied together.

An attempt was made to take two more students, Larson said, but the two students got away.

The driver of the vehicle, who has not yet been identified and may not be if he or she is still a juvenile, took the car on a joyride through Farmington. Several more students, in additional vehicles, followed along.

“There were other vehicles that were following that driver,” Larson said. “It was kind of like a big caravan, basically.”

The fun ended when the driver of the vehicle with the abducted juniors got into a minor accident on Flagstaff Avenue in the early morning hours of Sept. 28.

Larson said police were notified of the incident in the evening of Sept. 28.

In the days that followed, Larson’s investigation revealed that 17 students were involved in the joyriding incident.

“The entire case is being sent to the Dakota County attorney,” Larson said. “It’s possible that all 17 could be charged to varying degrees. They’re going to look at (each student’s) involvement and make a determination in each case.”

Farmington police find the incident troubling. What’s more, Larson learned this was not the first time something of this nature has happened during homecoming week in previous years.

Lindquist said the police department does not tolerate any kind of activity of this nature.

“This is not to be tolerated. Kids will be charged,” he said. “If you do something like that, you have to understand there will always be consequences.”

Farmington High School principal Jason Berg points out that most of the high school students did make good decisions during homecoming week. He considers the week of activity to be a success for the high school, and the community.

“A majority of our kids are out there, taking advantage of the opportunities we give them to have a safe homecoming,” Berg said. “Our kids were having a good time in a way we would like to see them having a good time.”

For example, this year’s Amazing Race event drew more than 200 students, he said. The streets of downtown Farmington were lined with parade-goers, and the FHS recital hall was almost filled to capacity for coronation.

But the homecoming prank has not passed unnoticed by high school administration, he added.

“We just have to keep working with our students about making good decisions,” he said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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