TODAY   |  March 21, 2013

Teen arrested for disrupting bingo

For Austyn Whaley, what may have seemed like a harmless prank turned into real trouble. After he walked into a bingo parlor in his Kentucky hometown and creating confusion by yelling “bingo,” he was arrested for disorderly conduct and forbidden to say the word for six months. NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this half hour with a kentucky teenager charged with disorderly conduct for a prank that some hard-core gamers did not find funny. good morning to you.

>> good morning, savannah. good morning, matt. here's a life lesson for all of us. don't mess with bingo ladies. he disrupted a serious bingo match and got slapped with cuffs.

>> reporter: for 18-year-old austin waley, what may have seemed like a harmless prank spelled trouble. the teen walked into a local bingo hall and did the unthinkable.

>> m-43.

>> reporter: he yelled out bingo . the hall was filled with mostly elderly women and according to an off- duty officer working security. quote, when they realized it wasn't a real bingo , they started hooting and hollering and yelling and cussing. people take their bingo very seriously. and that's when things got serious for waley.

>> grabbed my hand, handcuffed me and takes me to the back of the cruiser.

>> reporter: the officer arrested waley and issued a citation for second-degree disorderly conduct saying the violator caused alarm to patrons. though he faced a $250 fine, the judge didn't throw the book at the bingo bandit. his punishment. for starters, he can no longer walk by the bingo hall and ordered to think before speaking. waley can't say the word " bingo " for six months.

>> i try to say it back ward like ognib. don't say it in the hall.

>> reporter: a new word not to live by. now the officer who arrested waley said the offense was no different than yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. if waley stays out of trouble for the next six months, the judge says the disorderly conduct charges will be dismissed. he won't have a record for this.

>> that is crazy. it's not fire in a crowded theater.

>> more like walking into the movie "the hangover" and yelling what happens to doug at the end. more of an analogy.

>> i don't know if he's learned his lesson. do you think he has?

>> i think he had a lot of fun and the judge had fun with it too.