Diboll 'Prankster' getting out of prison

James Markle mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
James Markle mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Diboll man who made national headlines as part of a national prank ring is getting out of prison after a judge granted him shock probation on Monday.

James Tyler Markle, 20, pleaded guilty in October to criminal mischief.

In June 2009, Markle called a Lufkin McDonald's and tricked an employee to activate the fire extinguishers and break four windows, costing the business thousands of dollars.

Markle was supposed to be sent to a restitution center, to reimburse McDonald's and the Lufkin Fire Department for expenses in the crime, but because there are no empty slots available, he has released with the stipulation that he finds a job and immediately begins paying the restitution.

District Judge Barry Bryan sentenced him to five years in prison for the crime, but said at the time he would consider granting Markle shock probation, after he had served 90 days in prison.

The investigation into Markle began in August 2009, after a national website, TheSmokingGun.com, outed him as a key member of a prank ring.

In court, Markle smiled as word came that he was getting out of prison.

The idea of shock probation is to give Markle a taste of prison, then let him out to serve the rest of his sentence while reporting to a probation officer.

So Monday, he walked away, explaining that he learned his lesson.

"Don't prank call McDonald's," Markle said. "Watch what you're doing on the computer."

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved.