- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 30, 2006

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A joker who made a bat cave out of a dorm room, and three other students believed to have stolen the dozen or so nocturnal critters used in the caper, could be in for criminal charges, officials said.

At least five University of Arkansas at Fayetteville students had been in close contact with the bats, but state epidemiologist Dr. Frank Wilson said the exposure wasn’t significant enough to require rabies shots.

Health officials urged anyone else who was near the bats to be evaluated.

Three students gathered the brown bats during a caving expedition at Devil’s Den State Park in northwest Arkansas, said university police Lt. Gary Crain.

After they brought the bats to campus, a fourth student “thought it would be funny to release them in someone’s room,” he said. After the flying mammals were set loose in the dorm room on April 5, animal-control officers captured them and released them back into the wild.

Prosecutors are considering charges, which could include theft for taking the bats and harassment for releasing the creatures, Lt. Crain said.

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