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Siouxland Strange

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Beware the Devious Licks 

There's another awful social media craze that's got the young ones spellbound, and it seems that kids in Northwest Iowa have gotten wind of it. The school restroom is no longer a quiet retreat for cigarette breaks, but is now the site of something as sinister as it is baffling. 

The Sioux County Sheriff's Office warned in a recent press release of a nationwide vandalism trend called "Devious Licks," which has apparently made its way into schools in Sioux County. 

Devious Licks encourages middle- and high-school-aged students "to vandalize and steal items from their school bathrooms," according to the news release. 

The viral fad, spread via the social media platform TikTok, is thought to have taken root in early September. 

According to an array of breathless news reports on the Devious Licks phenomenon, along with widely shared photos, the items taken are usually the only things that can be readily lifted from a school bathroom -- toilet paper, paper towels and soap dispensers. In numerous instances, however, plumbing fixtures have been ripped out and mirrors have been broken. 

Sioux County Sheriff's Deputy and School Resource Office Waylon Pollema has been monitoring the situation and working with school administrators to address concerns regarding their buildings and sanitary facilities. 

“Most area schools are taking a hard stand on this; actions like this could be problematic with consequences for students who choose to vandalize and steal school property," Pollema said in the press release. 

Serial car smasher-upper 

A Sioux City man was arrested Sept. 20 on numerous criminal mischief charges after he allegedly used rocks to dent and break the windows of eight vehicles near a Pierce Street apartment building. 

At around 3:18 a.m. Sept. 20, 30-year-old Hagos Mengsteab of Sioux City used rocks to smash the windshields, side windows, side mirrors and doors of unoccupied vehicles in the 1000 block of Pierce Street, according to a criminal complaint. 

Mengsteab was intoxicated and told officers he'd been at a bar earlier in the evening, and had been in an altercation at around the same time as he was damaging the vehicles. 

The damage to each vehicle was estimated at around $350, with the cumulative damages calculated at around $2,800. 

Mengsteab was charged with eight counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief and was held in the Woodbury County jail on $5,000 bond. 


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