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Search warrants detail events before police used helicopter at a Penn State football game

State police helicopter sends canopies and debris flying during PSU tailgate

Video of the low flying Pennsylvania State Police helicopter that sent canopies and debris flying during a Penn State tailgate in Yellow lot 23 on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. Courtesy of https://facebook.com/NittanyLionWearhouse/
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Video of the low flying Pennsylvania State Police helicopter that sent canopies and debris flying during a Penn State tailgate in Yellow lot 23 on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. Courtesy of https://facebook.com/NittanyLionWearhouse/

The organizers of a “large-scale party that was getting out of hand” before the Penn State and Ohio State football game told two Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement officers there were 20 fraternities and sororities involved, according to a search warrant application.

About seven hours before kickoff on Sept. 29, the officers were sent to two different bouncers at parking lot No. 23 outside Beaver Stadium where they ultimately purchased wrist bands for $10. The bouncer said the bands would get them beer, liquor, food or cigarettes at any of the tents set up for the tailgate.

The two officers subsequently went to the closest tent, obtained a can of Natural Light Beer and poured themselves a mix drink. About 10 tents were similarly set up with various alcoholic beverages, according to the search warrant.

The bouncers checked wrist bands sporadically and officers also saw several individuals using smelling salts, which were used to “’bring you around’ if you drank too much or so you could keep drinking and to help get into the game if you were too drunk.”

Penn State and state police then used a helicopter to disperse the party after orders from police mounted on horses along with officers on the ground were ignored.

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The officers then spoke with members of Beta Sigma Beta and Sigma Alpha Mu, who said they had information for the sororities and fraternities that were involved. They also admitted some individuals paid for their wristbands using Venmo.

The search warrants, which were authorized by District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker on Tuesday, allowed officers to search cellphones, computer hardware, software, documentation, passwords, data security devices and an apartment at the Rise.

Possible violations include selling or furnishing alcohol to minors and selling liquor.

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