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Fountain ‘Soaping’ Prank, Not Harmless, Can Land You In Jail

Photo provided by Randolph County Public Library

ASHEBORO N.C. – Several people have learned that throwing soap in local fountains can end up being a very expensive practical joke, and officials say it’s no laughing matter.

On May 5th 2022, officers with the Asheboro Police Department responded to Bicentennial Park in downtown Asheboro after an unknown suspect threw soap into the fountain causing it to overflow with bubbles.

The fountain at Bicentennial Park is not the only fountain that’s been vandalized this year. According to Ross Holt, Director of the Randolph County Public Library, the fountain at the Asheboro Public Library has been a target of pranksters four times since just since Christmas of last year. “The fountain and the parking lot landscaping make for such a welcoming gateway to the library that it’s disheartening to see them vandalized. The fountain especially is a popular place for people to meet, read or just ruminate” said Holt in an email, “All in all it’s a great asset, but the repeated soaping is not a harmless prank”.

According to Holt the fountain at the library holds around 5,000 gallons of water, and each time it’s “soaped” it has to be completely drained, cleaned, and refilled.

Asheboro City Manager John Ogburn says the human labor cost to clean up the mess comes to around $400 each time it happens. “It’s more of a nuisance” says Ogburn, who pointed out that cleaning up the mess pulls city officials away from other things they need to be doing.

If someone is caught, under North Carolina law they can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor under the state’s vandalism statute which carries a maximum penalty of 120 days in jail and a discretionary fine plus being required to pay restitution to the city for the cost of the clean up.