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Teen Receives Sentence for Falsely Yelling ‘Bingo’
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In a report from Cincinnati.com, when you scream ‘bingo’ but have not won anything, you can get in some serious legal trouble. Last month, a man from Covington yelled ‘bingo’ but did not actually have it. He was cited for second-degree disorderly conduct.

The man, 18-year-old Austin Whaley, was ordered by Kenton District Judge Douglas Grothaus not to say the word “bingo” for six months.

  
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“Just like you can’t run into a theater and yell ‘fire’ when it’s not on fire, you can’t run into a crowded bingo hall and yell ‘bingo’ when there isn’t one,” said Park Hills Police Sgt. Richard Webster. Webster is the police officer who cited Whaley for the incident.

According to Webster, Whaley entered a Covington bingo hall on February 9 with other youths and yelled ‘bingo.’ Webster was off-duty, working security detail at the event.

“This caused the hall to quit operating since they thought someone had won,” Webster wrote on his citation. “This delayed the game by several minutes and caused alarm to patrons.”

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Webster described the scene, saying, “At first, everybody started moaning and groaning when they thought they’d lost. When they realized it wasn’t a real bingo, they started hooting and hollering and yelling and cussing. People take their bingo very seriously.”

Webster said that if Whaley had apologized for what he did, he probably would have let him go with a simple warning. “But he refused to say he was sorry,” Webster said.



“He seemed to think he could say whatever he wanted because it was a public building. I tried to explain that that’s not the case. Just because it’s a public building doesn’t give you the right to run into a theater and yell ‘fire.’ You can’t go into a ballpark and yell ‘out,’ because people could stop the game.”

For the misdemeanor charge, Whaley could have been sentenced to 90 days in prison and a fine of $250. The charge will be dismissed if Whaley stays out of trouble for the next six months.

“He was remorseful in court,” Grothaus said. “He was obviously a good kid who hadn’t been in trouble before. With all the other things that happen in the court system and the families you’re dealing with, you’ve got to keep a sense of humor.”



 

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