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Mechanicsburg woman charged with encouraging juveniles to participate in 'ding-dong ditch' prank that damaged home

Michelle Pida, 54, called the prank "harmless" despite the fact that the juveniles involved damaged the front door of a home in the 2022 incident, police claim.

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — A Cumberland County woman is facing corruption of minors charges and other offenses relating to a "ding-dong ditch" incident that damaged the front door of an elderly couple's home last year, police said this week.

Michelle Lynn Pida, 54, of Mechanicsburg, is also charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief and loitering and prowling at night, according to Upper Allen Township Police.

She is accused of encouraging six juvenile suspects to participate in a "ding-dong ditch" prank on the night of Sept. 4, 2022, police said. 

"Ding-dong ditch" is a "rude prank often performed by juveniles that consists of several individuals approaching a residence and either knocking on the front door or ringing the doorbell before running away," according to Upper Allen Township Police.

On the night in question, police said, the victims of the alleged "ding-dong ditch" prank reported that someone had kicked in their front door, causing damage that rendered it inoperable, according to police.

The victims' home was located on the first block of Oakwood Avenue in Upper Allen Township, according to police.

Investigators used surveillance footage to identify two suspect vehicles involved in the prank, including an Alfa Romeo sedan allegedly driven by Pida, police said.

The investigation determined Pida and six juvenile offenders were involved in the prank. One of the juveniles kicked the victims' door, according to police.

Pida allegedly admitted to police that she encouraged the juveniles to participate in the activity, claiming it was "harmless," police said.

Police said Pida and one of the juveniles allegedly involved in the prank had received a warning from another officer about engaging in the activity in 2021.

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