Abduction prank causes stir in Kenai Peninsula

Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2001

KENAI (AP) -- Teen pranksters sent nearly a dozen police officers on a wild goose chase through much of the central Kenai Peninsula.

Kenai police said two 18-year-old men apparently faked an abduction of a 17-year-old female accomplice purely for the shock value. Wednesday's incident occurred at a downtown intersection about 3:30 p.m.

The girl apparently had her hands bound behind her with toy handcuffs and struggled to get away. After one of the men ''forced'' her back into the car, the trio sped away.

''She just flopped out of the car like a beached salmon in the traffic lane, acting like she didn't want to be there,'' Kenai Police Sgt. Kim Wannamaker told the Peninsula Clarion. ''It caused quite a stir and raised obvious concerns for that person's safety.''

Wannamaker said Kenai police were still investigating the incident and declined to release the names of those involved.

Witnesses called police, which enlisted help from Soldotna police and Alaska State Troopers. Wannamaker said the effort involved at least three troopers, one Soldotna officer and Kenai officers, as well as dispatchers running license plates and tracking down relatives. Wannamaker did not have an estimate on what that cost.

Troopers said the vehicle was spotted at the Kenai Pizza Hut after a 2 1/2-hour search. A trooper report said, ''(They) indicated that they were playing with toy handcuffs and didn't realize the outcome the incident had. No crime was committed.''

The police hunt extended from Captain Cook State Recreation Area, the Nikiski and Kenai beaches, through Soldotna and as far south as Kasilof.

''Basically, we thought we had a kidnapping in a moving vehicle. We had everyone looking in places someone might take an abducted female,'' Wannamaker said. ''It was an intense search. Just let your imagination run wild where a young lady might be taken.''

Wannamaker said troopers contacted the trio and no charges were filed. He added that the Kenai police would like to talk to them as well.

''We'd like to talk to them face to face and see if they have an idea of the magnitude of their actions and the emotional impact on the officers and others,'' he said. ''This is parallel to a false fire alarm.''

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