Prank goes wrong

Published 04/02 2013 09:08PM

Updated 04/03 2013 09:42AM

FINDLAY -- A man's April Fool's joke went horribly wrong and nearly put him behind bars. He made a Facebook status Monday stating the village was on lock-down and a murderer was on the loose. An hour later, a police officer was knocking on his door.

"Anybody that knows me knows that I am wacky guy. I'm always pulling pranks," Robert Leonard said.

He wanted to find the perfect one for April Fool's Day. He turned on his laptop and logged into Facebook.

"I thought it would be something so unbelievable."

Leonard claimed there were at least 100 army trucks in the town blocking roads, and helicopters above his home. After realizing it was a joke, some of his friends joined in on the prank.

"I had people making comments that their family couldn't get into town, that they called and someone was crying," Leonard said.

His friends commented that a wanted murderer was on the loose in Findlay and the game of telephone began. Hundreds shared his status and called their friends, who called their friends.

"I really thought it was funny, just an April Fool's joke," Leonard said.

But the Findlay Police Department wasn't laughing. After getting hundreds of calls, they tracked Leonard down.

"At that point I realized it'd gotten pretty serious," Leonard said.

The officer told him to delete the post, or he'd be arrested for disorderly conduct.

"This is America it doesn't seem like America anymore when you can't have a joke on April Fool's day," Leonard said.

"April Fool's jokes are OK, but I think this is extreme," Mayor John Diss said.

Diss thinks Leonard should be punished with community service.

"I think people just need to relax," Leonard said.

He's sorry if he scared anyone, but says it was all in fun.

"It just goes to show you everybody's scared. With all the shootings, 9/11 and everything's that happened, nobody wants to mess around anymore. "

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