CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Chesterfield police will not be filing charges in relation to a "staged abduction" that happened outside of a Walmart on Sunday.
On Friday, officers said they decided not to pursue charges after reviewing the situation.
"Like many in our community, we are deeply troubled by the danger these young adults put themselves and others in by staging this abduction, and the law enforcement resources that were wasted investigating a crime that did not occur, but there is no statute in Virginia that specifically applies to performance crimes," Col. Jeffrey S. Katz said on Friday. "While there are statutes that may loosely apply, I think it's important that we charge based solely on legislative intent. Going forward, we would encourage members of the General Assembly to consider legislation that addresses the hazards of social media performances that jeopardize public safety."
Police confirmed the hoax Tuesday and said all members of the group know each other and left together. The woman who was supposedly being abducted came to the police station Monday night after seeing media reports about the abduction. Police said she was "safe and unharmed."
"After eating dinner nearby, the group went to the rear of the Walmart parking lot to plan the incident," Chesterfield Police said Tuesday. "They planned to film the staged abduction and the reaction of onlookers and post the video online. After they staged the abduction, they left the area together."
Police originally said they were looking into a reported abduction seen on surveillance video at a Walmart on Sunday night, in the 900 block of Walmart Way.
The video shows a woman trying to escape from the trunk of a vehicle, but the suspects grab her and put her back into the vehicle before taking off.
"We are grateful that the participants in this hoax came forward to police and understand the impact of their actions," Katz said on Friday. "In an effort to educate the public about the potential impact of staging crimes, we are releasing the surveillance video of the incident.
"We think it is important for people to see what this incident looked like to police and those who witnessed it," Katz said. "We would strongly encourage people to think through the potential consequences of staging crimes in public places before engaging in such behavior."
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