Apache Junction Mom Charged With "Hoax With Terrorist Intent" After Haz-Mat Prank on Sons

Rochelle Lambert and her two sons have been locked in a heated prank war for nearly 15 years.

As the battle waged, everything from Vaseline on the toilet seat to blue food coloring in the shower heads have been used as weapons, but a little baking soda and a jar with a hazardous materials sticker on it may land Lambert in prison for more than four years.

Lambert, 41, has been charged with committing a "hoax with terrorist intent" by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, she says, after a prank she tried to pull on her two sons -- both in their early-20's -- went terribly wrong.

Lambert tells New Times that the baking-soda prank was enacted after her sons got her with one of the sicker hoaxes we've ever heard of.

"My sons both race quads," Lambert says. "One night they called me and said that one of them was in an accident and was being taken to the hospital by helicopter."

As you may have guessed, both sons were fine, but it wasn't until Lambert was in her car on the way to the hospital that the pranksters called to let her in on the shameless joke.

Rather than get mad, Lambert decided to get even by filling a box -- decked out in hazardous-materials stickers -- with baking soda and dropping it off on the doorstep of her son's Gilbert home.

When the box was opened by Lambert's son and a few of his friends, everybody -- as well they should -- freaked the fuck out.

Lambert says she got a frantic call from her son asking if she was behind the faux-terrorist attack, but given the climate of the prank war, she denied she had any involvement.

That's when Lambert's son put her on the phone with a Gilbert police officer, and the jig was up.

Lambert told the officer the whole thing was a prank, but after having to call a haz-mat team and the Office of Homeland Security, the situation had become a little more serious than Lambert expected.

As a result, Lambert says she's been charged with the class four felony "hoax with terrorist intent" and faces up to 4 1/2 years in prison if convicted.

We'd never heard of the charge and thought it was made up -- if something is admittedly a hoax, how is there "terrorist intent?"

The County Attorney's Office did not return our calls to get some clarification on the bogus charge, but we tracked down a federal version of the law, and apparently it's a pretty serious offense. Check it out here.

Lambert says she's been offered a plea deal, but it requires her to plead guilty to a felony and doesn't necessarily guarantee that she won't serve any jail time.

Lambert, obviously, thinks the charge is ridiculous but says she's terrified that common sense won't prevail.

"Who would target a couple of good ol' white boys other than their mother," she asks.

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James King
Contact: James King