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Suspects in child enticement case say it was all a prank

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Posted at 6:30 PM, Jun 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-24 21:07:07-04

ALPINE, Utah – Three siblings may face criminal charges after their actions led to public worry about a child predator, but those siblings said they were simply conducting a social experiment.

Last week, the Lone Peak Police Department received calls about a man  in a suspicious van asking children for help finding a puppy and enticing them with candy to enter the van.  A female in the van was reportedly filming the interactions with a cell phone camera. Similar incidents were reported in Cedar Hills, and those incidents were handled by the American Fork Police Department.

Police posted a picture of the van, and the image and the story was widely shared on social media and broadcast by news outlets as people were concerned about a possible child predator.

On June 21, a 25-year-old male and his two juvenile siblings came forward and said they had been the ones in the van. They told police they were doing it as a prank and to conduct an “experiment with social norms.” The three apologized for their actions.

According to police officials, charges are being forwarded to a prosecutor for review.