Popcorn Prank Burns CCSU Athletes

Popcorn is a good snack on a college campus, but mix it with smoke and fishing line and it's a recipe for a prank gone bad. That is why two current and one former Central Connecticut State University athletes are in trouble with the university and New Britain police.

In a page from a play book on what not to do on a college campus, Matthew Dortch, 18, a wide receiver for the school's football team; and Patrick Robinson, 18, a baseball standout at CCSU, intentionally burned two bags of popcorn in a microwave on the third floor of a dormitory at Vance Hall, police said.

As the popcorn scorched, Christopher Scifo, a former student who played for the football team, tied shut about six rooms on the fourth and fifth floors with thick fishing line so students couldn’t get out, according to police and University spokesman Mark McLaughlin. The dorm is the second largest on campus and has room for 400 students.

The smoke from the popcorn filled a cluster of rooms with fire and tripped a fire alarm at 3:14 a.m., forcing some students to squeeze through a small opening in a door to get out of the building, police said. 

Students in the dorm "were calm and handled the incident well -- annoyed, as you can imagine, but calm," McLaughlin said.

Police interviewed several students and staff members, which led them to connect the three with the incident, the New Britain Herald reports.

No one was hurt. All three said it was only a prank.

“I didn’t intend to hurt anyone, just get a few laughs,” Scifo, who transferred to a Florida school, told police, the Herald reports.

All three face charges including reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. The two CCSU students are suspended pending an internal investigation. They are due in court on June 5.

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