CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A prank war in one North Carolina town has prompted warnings from local authorities about the potentially deadly consequences after several people called the police.
The Roxboro Police Department responded to several reports of people pointing what look like real guns at drivers and other people as part of a “gun prank war,” according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. The warning has been shared over 900 times since it was posted just before 7 p.m. on Monday.
Roxboro is a city of roughly 8,300 people about 30 miles north of Durham.
Police said they “stopped several cars to find young people who admit to playing this game.”
“This (is) a dangerous and potentially deadly game to play,” Roxboro police said in the post. “There is nothing funny about this game. We urge those playing to stop immediately before you are arrested or prank the wrong person ending in tragic consequences.”
Similarly styled pranks in other parts of the U.S. have resulted in criminal charges, injuries or — in at least one instance — death.
In April, a woman 90 miles away in Lexington, North Carolina, said she was hurt trying to run away after a teenager jumped out from behind a car wielding a toy gun as part of a senior prank, ABC 45 reported.
She told the TV station she had to go to an emergency room and get an MRI after the incident.
In California, YouTube stars Alan and Alex Stokes, known for making prank videos, were charged after they tried to hail an Uber dressed in black, wearing ski masks and carrying duffel bags full of cash, McClatchy News reported. The district attorney said their videos “were not pranks.”
“These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed,” he said.
One person died in Tennessee following a similar incident. Timothy Wilks, 20, was shot and killed in February while he and a friend were filming a prank robbery for YouTube, McClatchy News reported. Police said a 23-year-old shot Wilks in self defense after the pair went up to a group holding butcher knives.