Young Hostage-Holder Demands . . . a Burger : Juvenile Hall: After long standoff ends without injury, authorities say it may have been a prank.


Authorities summoned deputies to Juvenile Hall early Wednesday to confront a teen-ager who apparently had taken another inmate hostage, officials said Thursday.

After a four-hour standoff--during which the youth demanded hamburgers for himself, the apparent hostage and another inmate--he surrendered. No one was hurt and the fast-food delivery was never made.

Authorities suggested the incident may have been a prank, with one of the inmates playing the role of hostage. No one seemed to be victimized, said Stephanie Lewis, chief deputy probation officer at the Orange County probation office.


The teen-age boy with the hamburger craving used a piece of glass from a broken window as a weapon in the standoff, which began about 1 a.m. when he held the shard to the neck of his cellmate, according to Lewis.

“We (had) the Sheriff’s Department respond with some officers. If we have any kind of disturbance, we need additional manpower,” she said. “As long as one boy had glass in his possession and wanted to use it as a weapon, we didn’t want to risk the safety of the staff or other kids.”

According to Lewis, when the negotiator asked the inmate with the weapon what his demands were the teen-ager replied: “ ‘Um . . . a hamburger?’ ” according to Lewis.

The second youth was also interested in getting a burger, she said, and the teen brandishing the glass asked for enough food to go around.

Besides the two cellmates, a third youth in a cell next door participated; he may have provided the broken glass from a window in his cell, Lewis said. The boys’ ages were 13, 16 and 17, but officials would not identify them further.

“The kids kept demanding their hamburgers until 5 o’clock in the morning,” Lewis said, when they gave up.


“It was a real unusual thing, when two kids hold another kid ransom for a hamburger,” she said.

The food request was not met, because “the hamburger places were all closed,” she said.

Authorities do not expect charges to be filed against any of the boys involved, though the Sheriff’s Department and the probation office are still conducting an investigation.