Two teenagers who reportedly faked a public kidnapping to upload a video to their YouTube prank channel now face felony charges, according to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Ava Coleman, 17, and Christopher Kratzer, 19, were reportedly arrested following the alleged stunt at The Collection Shopping Center.
Writing on Facebook, Sheriff Ron Freeman stated that at around 6 P.M. on July 3, multiple 911 calls came in describing a female tied up and screaming for help from inside a Chevrolet SUV. Some witnesses also allegedly said they heard the female yell, “He is going to kill me!”
Eight patrol cars reportedly responded immediately in full emergency mode, representing half the police force that was available at that time.
Officers who pulled over the SUV said Coleman was driving and Kratzer was tied up. The suspects then allegedly said they were filming a “kidnapping prank” for a YouTube video channel.
Citing the panic, terror, and potential danger of both traffic accidents and possible deadly responses to the situation, Sheriff Freeman stated, “If you want to create a social media following, I would strongly dissuade you from this stupidity, good armed citizens might have been justified in using force to stop what they legitimately believed was a kidnapping. Committing a criminal act for social media likes will get you arrested in Forsyth County, that’s not the kind of attention most people want to have.”
Coleman and Kratzer were reportedly charged with felony counts of false public alarm and reckless conduct.
Authorities said Coleman was released on bond, but Krazter remains in custody for allegedly violating the terms of his probation for a prior incident. Sheriff’s Office representative Doug Rainwater told the press that Kratzer faces an additional count of felony probation violation, arising from an agreement he made over an April 2018 incident in which he is accused of damaging five vehicles by throwing objects out the window of his vehicle at passing motorists.