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Don’t mess with seniors and their bingo games.
That’s the message a Kentucky teen was given after a prank in which he “falsely yelled ‘bingo’ last month” and ended up being cited for disorderly conduct.
“Just like you can’t run into a theater and yell ‘fire’ when it’s not on fire, you can’t run into a crowded bingo hall and yell ‘bingo’ when there isn’t one,” Park Hills, Ky., Police Sgt. Richard Webster said after citing 19-year-old Austin Whaley.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Whaley entered a Covington bingo hall Feb. 9 and yelled “bingo!”
Webster, working off-duty security there, told the Enquirer, “This caused the hall to quit operating since they thought someone had won. This delayed the game by several minutes and caused alarm to patrons.”
Webster described the reaction of the “mostly elderly women” in the hall.
“Everybody started moaning and groaning when they thought they’d lost. When they realized it wasn’t a real bingo, they started hooting and hollering and yelling and cussing. People take their bingo very seriously.”
The officer explained the reason he cited the teen.
“He seemed to think he could say whatever he wanted because it was a public building. I tried to explain that that’s not the case. Just because it’s a public building doesn’t give you the right to run into a theater and yell ‘fire.’ You can’t go into a ballpark and yell ‘out,’ because people could stop the game.”
When Whaley got to Kenton District Court, the Enquirer reported, he was ordered not to say the word “bingo” for six months.
He could have faced 90 days in jail and a $250 fine on the disorderly conduct charge, a misdemeanor.
The judge, Douglas Grothaus, said, “He was remorseful in court.”