One of the twin brothers responsible for staging a fake child abduction at a Washington park says they were just trying to raise awareness about the ease with which an abduction can occur.
"Everyone saw it as a prank because our YouTube channel is pretty much based around pranks, but that's not the case," Jeremy Holden told The Huffington Post. "Our YouTube channel [is for] pranks, social experiments, stunts and stuff like that."
Holden and his brother, Jason, both 24, made national headlines this week after filming a fake child abduction at Carrie Blake Park in Sequim, Wash., on Saturday.
The video, which is posted to the brothers' "TwinzTV" YouTube channel, shows two masked men pull up to a park as children and unwitting parents relax and frolic about. Moments later, the splendor of the day turns to chaos, when one of the masked men exits the van and runs toward a boy sitting on a bench. Within seconds, the man has the boy in his arms and is back in the van as it speeds down the road, with concerned citizens chasing after it.
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"After we took off, we drove around the block, parked for 30 seconds and drove back," said Jeremy Holden.
However, instead of being greeted by relieved citizens who were grateful for some spoon-fed awareness education, the Holdens encountered a group of furious parents and onlookers.
"This is outrageous," one woman yelled after the brothers told her the kidnapping was staged.
"How the f--- would you feel if that happened to you?" another shouted.
Though the brothers made further attempts to explain the purpose of the video, the witnesses remained unappeased.
Authorities were called to the scene, but charges were not immediately filed against the brothers, who claim they notified police prior to making the video.
"We called the cops and [the] only thing they said was, 'Alright, we'll let the other cops in the area know," Holden said.
"There's no law against stupid," he said.
However, in a Wednesday interview with the Everett Herald, Sequim City Attorney Craig Ritchie said the pranksters could be charged with dangerous conduct or with failing to obtain a temporary permit.
Both crimes, The Herald reported, are misdemeanors that carry jail sentences of up to one year and fines of up to $5,000.
Jeremy Holden told HuffPost that he has yet to hear from the authorities about possible charges.
According to Holden, he and his brother are graduates of Port Angeles High School and together operate a pawn shop in Tacoma. The child in the video is their nephew, he said.
"We just started our YouTube channel a little over a month ago," Holden told HuffPost. "We never really expected all of this to go nationwide. It's pretty surreal."
Regardless of the outcome, Holden said this would not be the last video he and his brother make for YouTube.
"We're still going to be doing pranks and social experiments," he said. "We're just not going to be doing them to that extent."