Riot Sparked By Bet at Avon Park Juvy Center
Three Cup O’ Noodle soup servings were at the heart of a riot that destroyed 18 buildings, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage at a Highlands County juvenile detention facility Saturday night.
The melee needed 150 law enforcement officers from several state and local agencies to quell. Seven juveniles were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Polk County sheriff’s deputies said 18 of the 20 buildings at the Avon Park Youth Academy were destroyed and nearly half the juveniles had to be taken to a jail. Rioters confiscated a guard’s radio and all of the staff golf carts and set fire to a building containing the teens’ records and a trash bin, deputies said.
The riot started about 8:30 p.m. after a fight on a basketball court. A team of five juveniles from St. Petersburg was playing a team of five from Orlando and had wagered three Cup O’ Noodles soups on the outcome. The losing team, from St. Petersburg, refused to pay and the two teams started fighting. Juveniles who weren’t playing joined in, deputies said.