Crime

Teen from Carolina Forest ‘prank’ kidnapping accused of sending threatening video

Listen to the 911 calls from the Carolina Forest attempted kidnapping

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When teens in a black Yukon Denali drove through Plantation Lakes with masked faces and told boys to get in their car, neighbors reported it as a kidnapping. Police called it a prank.

No one was charged. The case was closed.

But in the following days, a teen from the SUV was charged after allegedly sending a Snapchat video threatening a 14-year-old girl in the subdivision with a laughing emoticon next to the words “attempted kidnapping.”

The 16-year-old boy was charged with unlawful communication with an electronic device, according to a heavily redacted police report.

Horry County police responded to a home on Juxa Drive on Wednesday, Aug. 9, for a complaint of a “video containing vulgar language, profanity and threats sent to the victim,” according to an incident report.

The mother of the 14-year-old girl told police the suspect, who had sent her daughter the video, was one of the four teens riding in the black Yukon Denali.

Neighbors say the SUV was cruising Plantation Lakes around 7:50 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7, with masked teen boys in the vehicle following kids and telling them to get in the car.

Residents reported feeling terrorized by the incident and turned to social media to air concerns about the lack of charges in the case. A new concern in the subdivision surfaced with the video two days later.

The young girl told officers that she was at her sister’s gymnastics practice when a friend nudged her towards talking to a “cute” boy. The girl agreed to give him her Snapchat screen name, according to the incident report. After a text conversation with the boy, the girl told police he sent her a video. Police redacted information about exactly what was in the video.

Officers say they consulted the juvenile solicitor’s office before agreeing to charge the teen boy with unlawful communication and police seized the teenage suspect’s cellphone for evidence.

Sgt. Chatfield set up a time with the 16-year-old’s attorney for the teen to come to the police department to be formally charged.

Unlawful communication is a misdemeanor under state law, punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a fine ranging from $100 to $500. The teen is being charged as a juvenile and was not named in the report.

‘Kidnapping,’ ‘prank’

A police report of the Aug. 7 incident states a 13-year-old and 7-year-old boy were playing football outside a home on a street in the neighborhood when the black SUV drove up to them. The 13-year-old told police the suspects were masked by bandanas, and told the boys “Come get inside,” the report says.

One of the suspects opened the door and got out, but then got back inside the SUV that sped off, police said.

Dr. Barb Horn said her 10-year-old son and his 11-year-old friend were walking home from the playground in Plantation Lakes when the SUV also pulled up beside them, with a teen in the Yukon telling the kids, “Get in the car boy.”

A police report states there were four males in the SUV, and that a man wearing a pink mask got out of the vehicle at one point, then got back inside before speeding off.

The children ran to the first adult they saw, who happened to be a friend of the family, and someone who once was a police officer. Residents started chasing the SUV at a high speed down Carolina Forest Boulevard, Horn said.

The chase bottomed out at a nearby gas station on River Oaks Drive where the people following the suspects confronted them, as the suspects were starting to get gas, a police report states. The suspects fled when the residents chasing them told them police had been called, but they were able to get their license plate information, which led police to a home in another affluent neighborhood on Arundel Road.

Horry County Police Department ruled the incident was a prank.

Emily Weaver: 843-444-1722, @TSNEmily

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