PCSO: Prank on grand jury foreman could lead to criminal charges

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

FLORENCE, Ariz. -- Two men could face criminal charges after playing a prank on a friend serving as the foreman of a grand jury, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

A 41-year-old Casa Grande man told sheriff's deputies that he went to his truck while on a break from grand jury proceedings and found a threatening note. The note was written on a guest check commonly used by restaurants and read, in part, "You better not find my dad guilty! I followed you home last Wednesday I know where you live!"

Grand jury proceedings were interrupted as detectives began to investigate this case.

Detectives went to restaurants to track down where the check came from and spoke to a waitress at L & B restaurant in Florence. She was shown the note and said she found one similar to it written on a check by the cash register when she came in to work. She told detectives another waitress was on duty at the time and the note for the foreman appeared to be written in her handwriting.

Detectives then spoke with that waitress. She told them that two men came into the restaurant and asked for something to write on because they were going to play a joke on a co-worker. One of the men wrote the note and then asked her to rewrite it so their friend wouldn't recognize the handwriting.

She told the men it was a bad idea, but they convinced her to write the note by saying they would tell their friend the following day at work, according to sheriff's office spokesman Tim Gaffney.

The men paid for their meal by credit card and left.

Detectives tracked down one co-worker who said the entire thing was a prank they were playing on their friend. He said they had taken a photo of the note on his vehicle and were going to show it to him when he came into work.

Sheriff Paul Babeu said multiple detectives were pulled from other priority cases they were working on and grand jury proceedings were interrupted because of the prank the man tried to pull on their friend.

Babeu said the case will be submitted to the county attorney's office to be reviewed for possible criminal charges, including influencing a juror, disorderly conduct, and threatening and intimidating.

"The trauma inflicted on the foreman, the risk of wrongful arrest for the innocent writer of the note, the great expense of the all-out investigation by PCSO, and most importantly, the overall potential risk of tampering with the integrity of our judicial system requires my office’s action," Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles said. "Any risk to our criminal justice system requires my office act immediately and decisively."