A YouTube prank in which four men were detained by officers after admitting to having a trunk full of "coke," as in the soft drink, is drawing less than rave reviews from the Los Angeles Police Department.
Video of the prank has gone viral since being posted on YouTube earlier this week, racking up more than 700,000 views in just over four days. But the LAPD is not impressed, reports Los Angeles' KCBS-TV.
Why are law enforcement officials warning against potential copy-cat prank videos?
Officers Believed Pranksters Had Illegal Drugs
In the video, a group of men is shown filling the back of an SUV with cans of Coca-Cola, then asking passersby if they "need some coke?" The word "coke," of course, is commonly used to refer to cocaine.
The video then cuts to the pranksters in the car, being stopped by LAPD officers. The four pranksters feign nervousness as the police officers ask them questions. Finally, one of the men appears to break down, admitting to police that the men "have a bunch of coke in the back." The four men are placed in handcuffs, but the officers soon discover that they've been had, shaking hands with the men before they head on their way.
Police Warn of Potential for Injuries, Criminal Charges
Police have since condemned the video, warning that it may inspire copycat videos. According to police officials, videos such as the one in question increase the strain on limited police resources and time, while also increasing the risk of potential injury for pranksters who may take the joke a little too far.
In addition, pranksters could face criminal charges for their faux-misdeeds (though that did not happen in this case). In 2012, an Arizona man who armed his nephew with a fake grenade launcher in order to test police response time was arrested and charged under an Arizona statute making it a crime to give the false impression of a terrorist act. Those who perpetrate hoaxes or pranks may also, under some circumstances, be ordered to pay restitution to the government for the time and resources spent by police officers or other public employees.