Elise Gregg | Editor-in-Chief
What started as a prank went south for a pair of YouTubers, ending with an arrest by FIU police this week.
According to police, on Thursday, Sep. 7, two non-students were caught impersonating Housing inspectors at Lakeview North on FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus.
FIU Police Chief Alexander Casas called them “the usual YouTube pranksters” in text communications with PantherNOW, saying they had something similar happen a few years ago.
“Not an often occurrence but worth giving folks a heads up,” Casas wrote.
Casas said that evening, two non-students made their way into Lakeview North pretending that they were there to conduct a health and safety inspection.
Once inside a room, they filmed themselves playing pranks with the intention of posting the footage on YouTube, such as messing with the lights and patting down the resident, according to arrest files.
FIUPD was called and the two were arrested in the lobby. By using deception to get into a residence, their pranks were classified as burglary.
The two Georgia men, Larry King and Donald Smith, run two YouTube prank channels under King’s name. The first, Larry 1K, has over 71,000 subscribers and 102 videos, while the other, simply Larry King, has around 550,000 subscribers and 139 videos.
“While it’s not the most serious of our breaches it could cause some concern to our students – it’s unnerving,” said Casas on a phone call with PantherNOW.
He called the incident isolated, saying he only remembered one other case happening before during the pandemic when some other pranksters pretended they were residential assistants to get into a dorm.
Housing and Residential Experience did give residents a heads-up, reminding them in several emails that inspections would only occur on specified dates.
PantherNOW reached out to Housing and Residential Experience staff, who were not available for comment at the time of publication.
“If anyone comes to your room outside of the date range and/or time range, please report this immediately,” one of the emails read.
The emails added that students have the right to ask for the credential of anyone coming to their rooms who claim to represent Housing and Residential Experience.
“Before you open a door make sure you know who’s knocking,” Casas added. “You never know.”