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