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New SC bill would make prank kidnapping illegal after Carolina Forest scare

A local lawmaker is sponsoring an anti-luring bill six months after four juveniles were charged with breach of peace in connection with a "prank" kidnapping.

S.C. Rep. Tim McGinnis said he's hoping the proposed bill can be used to punish teenagers who try to entice children to get inside cars or houses, according to our Grand Strand news alliance partner WPDE. The law initially was written in response to a man who allegedly attempted to lure a child into his car in Charleston, McGinnis told WPDE.

McGinnis is one of 21 co-sponsors on the bill, which was proposed Thursday and sent into committee.

McGinnis told WPDE the proposed bill would give police and prosecutors a tool to use that's less severe than attempted kidnapping.

The bill proposes those found guilty on a first offense would pay $500 or spend one year in prison. It would be a misdemeanor.

"It's not going to put them away for their whole life like an attempted kidnapping charge would," he told WPDE. "I think a $250 or $500 fine that a judge would impose would go a long way into teaching somebody right from wrong."

In South Carolina, unlawfully luring another person is a felony and a person found guilty is subject up to 30 years in prison.

Four juveniles were charged with breach of peace in August after a "misguided prank" in Plantation Lakes, a Carolina Forest neighborhood, police said. Neighbors who said their children were victimized by the teens on the night of Aug. 7 reported the incident to Horry County police as attempted kidnapping. Police later called the incident a “misguided prank” and closed the case.

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