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Stay out of old jail tonight, or face stay in new jail, Provo police warn

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31 2013 3:38 p.m. MDT

Police in Provo want to keep people from breaking into the old Utah County Jail on Halloween night.

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PROVO — Police want to keep people from breaking into jail tonight.

On Halloween night, Provo police will beef up security around the old Utah County Jail, 1776 S. Buckley Lane, in an effort to keep young adults and other thrill seekers out. If officers find any trespassers, they'll be booked into the current, active jail.

The old jailhouse was closed more than a decade ago. Since then, the fenced and boarded-up property has been a draw for people who believe the facility is haunted as well as others who mischievously want to see the building.

Last weekend, an officer doing a routine check of the building found 15 people who had sneaked in, said Provo Police Lt. Mathew Siufanua. In the past year alone, there have been 23 reported incidents of people breaking into the old jail house, he said.

In one incident, a woman accidentally became locked in a cell. Her friends had to call police to let her out, Siufanua said. Since that incident, the city has removed all locks from inside the old jail house.

Some young adults take pictures of their trespassing adventures and post them online. Because of recent discussions on social media pages, police said they feared a large group of people were planning to sneak into the old facility Halloween night.

The city once let the Paranormal Investigations Team of Utah inside to film. But because of the large debris piles that now cover parts of the building as well as an asbestos problem, Siufanua said the city no longer allows any tours.

"It's very dangerous," he warned. "Our staff periodically goes in there to make sure no one is stuck."

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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