Zoo Trespasser Seals His Own Fate
A young man, intent on getting a really good picture of the seals at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, violated all common sense by climbing over the fence that surrounds the seal pool, an act which is not only discouraged by Zoo personnel, but is against the law, as he found out. When confronted by Zoo employees, he became irate, telling them that he just wanted pictures, and that he made no contact with the seals. All would have been well, but when he was told to get out of the enclosure, he mouthed off to the workers, and they then called the police.
One does not have to disobey specific signs prohibiting entry to a place to commit the offense of Trespass to Land. A trespass can occur whenever a person, after being told by the land owner or any agent of the landowner (such as a zoo employee), that his presence is forbidden and he must leave, and but then chooses to remain against the directive to leave. When the young man in this case “mouthed off,” the zoo workers decided to call the Chicago Police. He was ultimately charged under a City of Chicago ordinance against trespassing, which is punishable by a fine only. He could however have been charged with an Illinois State Law violation, which would have been a misdemeanor, punishable by a possible jail sentence.
In recent years, a number of people have been arrested and charged with trespassing at other public and privately owned places such as Soldier Field and Wrigley Field as well. Management at these venues have become increasingly intolerant of such acts and are often quick to contact the Chicago Police and prosecute the defendants vigorously.
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