Early April Fools joke goes awry

HARVARD – A 16-year-old from the Harvard area could face criminal charges after an early April Fools’ Day joke gone wrong brought a hazmat team to his friend’s house.

The teen, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, sent an envelope with a white powdery substance to a friend living in the 19000 block of Altenburg Road in Harvard, said Lt. Andy Zinke of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

It was unclear whether the letter was mailed or hand-delivered, Zinke said.

The friend and his family had been out of town, and his brother found the letter in the mailbox Wednesday afternoon, Zinke said. After handling the envelope and noticing the powder, he called police.

It is believed that it actually was talcum powder. Inside the envelope also was a letter, signed with the teen’s nickname, indicating that it had been sent as a practical joke, Zinke said.

The case is under review, and at a minimum, the teen could be charged with disorderly conduct, Zinke said.

Sheriff’s police asked that residents not practice jokes such as these.

“In this era of hazardous materials and terrorist threats, these types of calls are always taken seriously,” Zinke said.

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