Brritish Student Prank Becomes International Incident

A British student in Vermont created an international incident by going to a gun shop and attempting to purchase a weapon using a fake ID. The gun shop owner noticed the ID was fake and immediately notified police. The student, Stephen Jackley, fled the scene, backed his car into another vehicle and zoomed off only to be apprehended a mile down the road by Vermont police. The boy said he had been bet $200 that he could not purchase a gun with a fake ID and took up the dare only to wind up arousing concern in two nations.

Jackley attended the University of Worcester which immediately became the scene of a police effort to seal off the campus and conduct a search for weapons. In searching Jackley’s room, police discovered a “suspicious package” which eventually turned out not to be a “suspicious package.” There is talk of extradting Jackley back to Great Britain where other searches undoubtedly will discover “suspicious packages” that are just packages.

The incident is a trivial one, there was no danger, but it reflects a current attitude that any example of stupidity on the part of a student must be construed as a potential threat to society. Students have been taking bets and dares for hundreds of years and will continue doing so. The ironic aspect of the incident is that Mr. Jackley could readily have obtained his weapon through anyone of a hundred sources without ever stepping foot in a gun shop. That is the tragedy, not the silly behavior of a student.

  • http://1234 David G

    This was no “Prank.”

  • http://656 Steven

    The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that Stephen Jackley, 22,of the United Kingdom, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for lying about his nationality and attempting to use false identification to purchase a handgun.

    On May 19, 2008, Stephen Jackley was arrested on Route 100 in Vermont after fleeing Henry Parro’s gun shop in Waterbury. Court documents show that Jackley entered the gun shop and asked for a compact model Glock handgun. He filled out the federally required form and falsely claimed that he was a United States citizen and that he currently lived in Vermont. When asked for a means of identification, Jackley produced a Vermont non-driver’s ID. The store owner found it suspicious and asked if it was real. While Jackley insisted it was, the owner called the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles and found it was a forgery. Jackley then fled the store. In the process, his rental car collided with a vehicle parked at the store. The Vermont State Police soon thereafter arrested Jackley heading north on Route 100.

    Court documents show that Jackley, a resident of Worcester, England, had flown to Boston on May 13, 2008 and then traveled to Vermont. Documents found in his vehicle show that he planned to purchase a gun and that he was planning to use it to commit armed robberies, including banks robberies in England. The documents also show that Jackley is facing charges in the Netherlands for armed robbery with a knife.

    Jackley has now been indicted by the federal grand jury in Vermont on charges of lying and trying to use false identification to induce a federally licensed firearms dealer to sell a handgun to a person not permitted to make such a purchase. He has been detained pending trial. The maximum penalty for the crime, should Jackley be convicted, would be ten years in prison. The United States Attorney stated that the Indictment is an accusation only and that Jackley is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    U.S. Attorney Thomas D. Anderson noted that this matter was investigated and prosecuted as part of the U.S. Attorney and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

    The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jackley is represented by Richard Bothfeld, Esq. of Burlington. The Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Gelber.