Article in Troy, NY Newspaper

TROY: RPI "Drop Squad" charged with string of campus pranks/C4

THE RECORD
TROY, NEW YORK
RENSSELAER COUNTY EDITION
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 1993

'Drop Squad' at RPI gets grounded
By Carmen Napolitano
The Record
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TROY -- They called themselves the Drop Squad, a secret group of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute pranksters.

They dropped pumpkins, typewriters and bags of McDonald's hamburgers down a nine-story stairwell of the Center for Industrial Innovation. Then the Drop Squad made a mistake. They sent police a videotape of themselves and were finally caught and punished.

"They were proud of their efforts," said Bill Denn, spokesman for RPI security. "They saw some kind of merit in it."

The pranks began last fall when the Drop Squad dropped food, newspapers and a fully trimmed Christmas tree down the center's stairwell, Denn said. Record albums and streams of tangled videotape were dumped there too, Denn said.

Soon the pranksters began leaving behind notes and assorted other clues. For months the Drop Squad eluded campus authorities.

Then the group sent security a videotape of themselves performing a ritual drop. Using the tape police were able to identify the members of the Drop Squad and their leader, Denn said.

The Drop Squad has since been dispersed and its members brought before the institute's Judicial Board. College policy bars officials from disclosing the findings of the board, Denn said.

The damage caused by the pranks has not been totaled.