Teens Arrested After YouTube Kidnapping Hoax At The Collection
CUMMING, GA — Two teens who were reportedly trying to gain popularity online for their prank channel on YouTube have now gained notoriety in a more infamous way after being arrested. And police have a stern warning for anyone considering a similar stunt.
“If you want to create a social media following, I would strongly dissuade you from this stupidity,” Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said. “Good, armed citizens might have been justified in using force to stop what they legitimately believed was a kidnapping. Committing a criminal act for social media likes will get you arrested in Forsyth County, that’s not the kind of attention most people want to have.”
On Wednesday, July 3, around 6 p.m., the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office received multiple 911 calls from people at The Collection shopping center about a woman being possibly abducted. The reports by callers said a female was reportedly yelling for help and tied up with a covering over her head inside of a Chevrolet Tahoe or similar SUV, the department said.
More than half of the entire contingent of deputies in South Forsyth responded to intercept this Tahoe with a reported victim, the department said. Deputies were traveling with their lights and sirens activated, trying to help to the victim. This type of driving is not without risk to the public and the deputies, the sheriff’s office said.
The Tahoe was stopped by an off-duty Gwinnett County Police officer who heard about the reported abduction. Johns Creek Police joined in on the traffic stop because the chase crossed into their city limits. Forsyth County Sheriff’s officers also responded to the location.
The driver of the Tahoe was identified as Christopher Kratzer, 19, and the occupant (alleged kidnapping victim) was Ava Coleman, 17, both from Forsyth County.
Investigators say that Kratzer and Coleman were filming a kidnapping prank for a YouTube channel video.
Authorities say the stunt alarmed the public, creating apprehension and panic that caused members of the public to feel unsafe and to report it to law enforcement, FCSO said.
Both Kratzer and Coleman were charged with reckless conduct and raising a false public alarm and were booked into the Forsyth County Jail. Kratzer also was arrested for felony probation violation.
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