Three women — all sisters — who admitted staging a prank kidnapping at the Wal-Mart in Forest Lake last month now face misdemeanor charges. The prank, captured in video and involving a fourth juvenile sister, stirred alarm and intensive media coverage after it was distributed by police, who initially treated the incident as genuine until the women’s mother made them come clean the next day.
Each woman was issued a ticket for disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly. The driver also is charged with careless driving, according to Capt. Greg Weiss of the Forest Lake Police Department. The Washington County attorney’s office is reviewing the juvenile’s case for possible charges.
Because of the juvenile’s involvement, names were not disclosed. Misdemeanors carry fines of less than $1,000.
In the store’s security camera video, the car pulls up to the front door of the Wal-Mart in the 200 block of 12th Street SW. about 8:30 p.m. on July 7. The trunk pops open, and a person later confirmed to be the 13-year-old leaps from the trunk and runs on the sidewalk toward the front of the car.
An older, larger woman in the passenger seat of the car jumps out and catches the juvenile around the waist. The larger woman drags the teen, who offers little resistance, to the back of the car and pushes her back in the trunk. The car then speeds away.
The mother of the women, who range in age from 13 to 27, contacted Forest Lake police about 2 the next afternoon. She reported that the group had perpetrated the prank after the video was distributed as investigators sought the public’s assistance. The Police Department spent hours and thousands of dollars on the investigation before it was determined to be a prank.