Witnesses screamed and panicked as they watched a frightened, crying toddler boy be taken by two masked men in a Sequim, Wash. park on Saturday, according to the Peninsula Daily News.
The men were seen pulling up in a minivan, one wearing a black knit mask and the other wearing a blue knit mask with a scary face on it. One of the men hopped out of the van, ran into the park where many families were gathered and snatched the little boy. The entire event was recorded and put up on You Tube.
The abductor then ran towards his “getaway” car as parents screamed and yelled out for help. One woman reportedly chased the minivan on foot for three blocks as it sped off.
Several minutes later, the men, Jeremy and Jason Holden, came back to the park and revealed themselves to the traumatized parents and explained that the “abduction” was a fake. In fact, one of the “kidnappers” turned out to be the tot’s father. In the You Tube video (below), the pranksters said their explanation to park goers was not well received — the men claimed the stunt was a staged event designed to create awareness for child kidnapping and abductions.
One upset witness and parent, Tiffany Barnett, told ABC News, “I was shaking and bawling when I was running, and then I felt like a failure for not getting the information.”
Barnett went onto to say, “It scared the crap out of our kids. It just makes me angry.”
The pranksters, who are twin brothers, run a prank video channel on You Tube calls TwinzTV, but insist that they were not setting out just to pull a prank, but to provide a public service announcement.
One of the pranksters, Jeremy Holden, told KCPQ-TV, “We didn’t expect people to get that upset about it.”
The Holden brothers say they even called local police several minutes before the stunt and warned them that they were just about to embark on a staged kidnapping event.
A woman who claimed to be the boy’s mother was even in on the hoax, telling bystanders that they were compiling research to find out how people would react in such a situation.
Jason Holden wrote about the prank: “Just goes to show all involved how easy it would be to snatch up a little blond-haired boy from the park. Kidnapping awareness: I’d die for the cause.”
Sequim police say the men won’t likely be charged with a crime because nobody was actually hurt.
Sequim City Attorney Craig Ritchie said that scaring people “is typically not a crime.”