Prank phone call caused $5,000 in damage to McDonald's

By Christel Phillips - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A subpoena of Skype records led to Lufkin Police connecting a June McDonald's prank to James Tyler Markle, the alleged "Prankster."

An arrest affidavit issued on Tuesday detailed the prank, stating the McDonald's on Timberland Drive received a phone call at 7 a.m. on June 20 from Markle advising the restaurant had been having problems with its fire suppression unit.

The employee who answered the phone pulled the safety pin on the handle and told the caller a clear liquid had sprayed on the grill. The caller told the employee the liquid was toxic and he needed to evacuate the building.

"It won't be tolerated, and it should not be tolerated, not by us, by our government or any other government," said Lukfin Police Department's, Detective Otis Almond, who is investigating the case.

The affidavit states the employee gave Markle a cell phone number for him to call back. Markle called the number after the employee had evacuated about 25 individuals.

The caller then told the employee to break the windows to clear the fumes. The employee did so, with a tire iron, despite a manager telling him not to.

The affidavit states repairs to the restaurant cost more than $5,000.

Almond said, " Fun is fun but when somebody get hurts or you're causing damage, or someone  loses their job over it, that's serious.

Det. Otis Almond subpoenaed Skype records, which showed a number connected to Markle's step-father's Diboll address made calls to McDonald's and the cell phone number at 7:08 a.m. and 7:22 a.m., respectively.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department contacted Det. Almond in reference to a simliar prank call incident at a  Wendy's restaurant, in a suburban area outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. In a press conference Wednesday, Sheriff's Deputies named Markle as their suspect.

Almond explains, "We advised them {Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department} that we were going to go out and apprehend him and interview him and they asked if they could come with us." He adds, "We have been sharing information with each on both of the seperate cases."

The affidavit states played a role in the arrest, as an article which ran on Aug. 4 identified Markle as a member of, a national prank ring.

Almond believes Markle may have learned his lesson. "He was truly to me, seemed to be remorseful," he said. But, he says Markle still took it too far. "He got caught up in the jest of the game and it got carried away."

Now sitting in jail is no laughing matter.

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