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.