By John Lynds
The East Boston man responsible for the early morning wakeup call at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ hotel on Sunday morning 15 hours before the team was to play the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship may be a villain in Pittsburgh, but not here.
Dennis Harrison, 25, of East Boston, was arrested Sunday morning outside the Logan Airport Hilton after State Police and Massport fire responded to a report of an alarm at the hotel at about 3:40 a.m. Sunday morning before the big game.
Firefighters and troopers determined it was a false alarm.
According to police reports, Harrison was allegedly found by Troopers walking in the parking garage adjacent to hotel property and determined he had allegedly activated the pull alarm in the hotel. Harrison was not a guest at the hotel, was not an airline passenger, and allegedly had no legitimate reason to be on the property.
Harrison told police that he drove to the hotel with two friends and entered the hotel by himself and allegedly activated the pull alarm. After allegedly pulling the alarm, Harrison immediately left the hotel but did not get back into the car afterward. His two friends never tried to pick Harrison up afterward, and apparently fled the area outside the hotel on foot separately from Harrison’s attempt to walk away. Harrison found the car left outside the hotel but his friends were gone and had taken the keys with them.
“Harrison informed me that he allegedly knowingly and willingly activated the fire alarm system with the sole purpose of attempting to disrupt the Pittsburgh Steelers football team,” Trooper Bryan Erickson wrote in his report.
Harrison was arraigned in East Boston District Court on charges of disorderly conduct; disturbing the peace; and setting off a false fire alarm. Harrison pled not guilty to the charges and is due back in court February 13.
Harrison’s alleged prank set off a media firestorm in the news and on social media, many hailing him as a New England hero.
Hooters, the popular wing chain on Route 1 in Saugus, put up a sign offering Harrison ‘free wings’ at the restaurant.
After his arrest, people all over social media offered to post his bail and raise money for his defense.
Harrison allegedly told police he was not proud of the prank and reportedly told arresting officers, “I’m drunk, I’m stupid, I’m a Pats fan.”