SEQUIM (AP) — No charges are planned against twin brothers who say they’re responsible for staging a fake child abduction in a park that terrified onlookers who thought it was real, a prosecutor said Thursday.
“Scaring the hell out of people is not, as far as I can determine, a crime,” City Attorney Craig Ritchie told the Peninsula Daily News.
Brothers Jason and Jeremy Holden say they were the two masked men who grabbed a young boy from a park bench last Saturday and sped off in a van. Jason Holden says they staged and recorded the incident to create a video on child-abduction awareness.
“We thought we were making a movie as this positive (thing,) but we didn’t think we were going to scare people like that,” Jason Holden said. “We didn’t even think we would be doing anything that might have broken any laws.”
However, after seeing the fear of people at the park, especially children, he said, “We weren’t happy about that at all.”
The 24-year-old twins, who graduated from nearby Port Angeles High School and own a pawn shop in Tacoma, apologized for the incident Thursday on national television.
Charges also will not be filed against the child’s mother, Ritchie said.
City codes don’t require permits for filming and a dangerous conduct charge would be difficult to pursue since nobody was hurt, the prosecutor said.
He likely will ask the City Council to revise its codes to require people who use city property for filming to get permits.
Sequim police did receive a call shortly before the fake abduction to warn officers it would be taking place.
“They did a dumb thing and risked a whole slate of unnecessary problems, and I would hate to encourage this behavior as an awareness-raising technique,” Ritchie said. “But they did show that child abduction scares the hell out of people.”