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North Fulton Police crack down on 'junior-senior wars'

Parents could be held culpable for pranks child commits

April 13, 2014
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Nearly a dozen teenagers were arrested April 4 after they took part in the annual "junior-senior wars."

Such "wars" traditionally begin the week leading up to prom at the local high schools. Juniors and seniors at the schools engage in a tit-for-tat game of pranks, typically late at night.

According to police, they received a call at nearly 3 a.m. about teenagers toilet-papering a Marin Court home and hitting the house and vehicles parked there with paintballs.

Police arrived and spotted two suspect vehicles trying to leave the neighborhood. Inside were 11 teenage boys. Police note there were paintball marks on the side of one of the vehicles and one passenger had a paintball gun in his lap.

A large package of toilet paper was in the rear of one vehicle.

All the boys allegedly admitted to papering the home and shooting at it and vehicles as part of the pranks.

The homeowner said her home had been targeted for the past three days and wanted it to stop. However, she declined to press charges for criminal trespass.

The 11 boys were arrested for disorderly conduct. The two boys who drove the vehicles were also charged with violation of their license restrictions.

Alpharetta has zero tolerance for such crimes, said Alpharetta Community Outreach Officer Phil Ritchie.

All minors – those under age 18 – are forbidden to be out after 11 p.m. during the week and midnight on weekends in Alpharetta. Anyone found out after that time will be charged with violating curfew.

Those caught in the act of toilet-papering a home will be charged with littering.

"It's a zero-tolerance event," Ritchie said. "That means, if I catch you, you are not getting a warning. You get a citation."

That could also mean a trip to jail, as the 11 teenagers found out April 4.

Parents should take heed, however. Ritchie said new for this year, parents who allow their children to take part in the junior-senior wars can be charged with allowing a child to violate curfew and engage in illegal acts.

"We are not overreacting. Before, it used to be a minor issue," he said. "Kids would go out and TP a house. Now, it is getting out of hand."

Spray painting and paintballing houses can damage them and be costly for the homeowner to fix or remove.

"These kids have weapons [paintball guns] and they are damaging people's homes," Ritchie said.

Every year, local police departments field dozens of calls about the pranks.

"It's not an overreaction," Ritchie said. "It's an effort to stop it."

And the efforts seem to be paying off. Ritchie said Milton High School has traditionally been a large headache during the junior-senior wars. However, this year Ritchie visited the school and worked with officials to explain the costs and damage the pranks are causing.

"We didn't get one 911 call, one criminal damage call or a single house TP-ed," he said.

Anyone seeing suspected junior-senior war activity is encouraged to call 911.

What are local curfews for teenagers?


Sunday through Thursday: 11 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: Midnight

Johns Creek:

No curfew


No curfew


No loitering between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. all days

MH 04-10-14

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Tags: Crime, Government & News & Crime

  1. report print email
    Police crack down on teen "wars"
    April 20, 2014 | 07:20 PM

    I am continually surprised and saddened by the harassment of our teenage children. Parents reading this article should be worried and afraid for their kids. To use 911 to call on teenagers out after dark is a ridiculous waste of our police force and could tie up lines for real emergencies. And the use of the term "zero tolerance" is absurd. Zero tolerance means no messing up, period. And what teenager doesn't make mistakes? What if your teenager has tickets to a concert, are they now not allowed to go because they will be home after 11? Don't think the police will only stop your teenagers for pranking, they will stop them for any minor infraction. They will use this to further search your teenager, their friends, and vehicles for reasons to actually arrest them. Parents please pay attention to what the city is creating, an atmosphere among kids that police are to be feared not respected.

    Patti Parrish
  2. report print email
    Warning to parent and teens
    April 21, 2014 | 10:12 PM

    Last year my son was attacked on his bike right outside our home by the same officer quoted in this article. He was not in a marked police car and my son thought he was being kidnapped until the officer called for "back up" by Alpharetta police. He was placed in handcuffs and hauled off to jail. His crime? Being out past curfew and not having a light on his bike. He had not even met up with his friends yet and the cops knocked on our door - we begged them to let him stay with us, take his seizure meds and we would take care of him being out past curfew as we didn't know he was participating in junior senior wars. This officer is a hot head and needs to be released of his duties. Ask anyone at the jail where they booked my son for is curfew violation and bike light and were forced to throw him in lock up with real criminals. They told my son "this is a BAD cop". They were furious. The only thing it did was taught him fear and disrespect of an organization he once revered. Please put this into perspective and get back to your real job at hand!

    Tracy Ashworth
  3. report print email
    Middle Ground
    April 23, 2014 | 10:51 AM

    When 10-15 masked people with guns (not able to distinguish whether they are aintball or otherwise from a distance) block the street in front of your house, then proceed to move through the darkness and you hear the sound of gunfire, it will unnerve you a little bit. It happened to my family at 2AM one morning.

    Notwithstanding what the police said int he article, the police that were called out seemed to shake it off as junior/senior wars.

    There is some middle ground here, TP-ing a house is one thing. A bunch of teens armed with paintball guns roaming the street at 2am in the morning and plastering a car with paintballs isn't acceptable behavior, and if they picked the wrong house, a homeowner could come out with a gun, and the results would be truly tragic.

    Bob Warren
    Johns Creek
  4. report print email
    Good grief
    April 23, 2014 | 01:12 PM

    I graduated from Chattahoochee in 1995. One night the police helped the seniors set us juniors up. We never caused harm to personal property. The worse thing we ever did was have egg wars in the middle of the night. The kids need to calm down and everyone needs to relax. It's supposed to be a good time.

    Johns Creek
  5. report print email
    April 24, 2014 | 12:43 PM

    Really? A curfew in Alpharetta?? What is this 1960? On another note....that cop sounds like someone I want to call...NOT! Good professional representation of the Alpharetta Police Dept. Shocker

  6. report print email
    If you do the crime, you pay the consequenses
    April 29, 2014 | 08:58 PM

    The teenagers were warned at school by the Administration and by the Police that they would be arrested if they partook in this type of activity. They choose to ignore the warnings and they should have been arrested. If they break the law they should pay the price. That is a learning experience. They also should be taught to respect the law. And I feel that the kids should stand up for what they did and not hide behind lawyers that parents are paying. Parents be parents and let your children become responsible adults.

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