Draper Police warn parents about dangerous TikTok trend using toy guns
Mar 17, 2022, 7:14 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 11:43 am
(Photo Illustration by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
DRAPER, Utah — A popular TikTok trend is becoming a bigger headache for police. They say the prank may actually be more dangerous for the prankster than the person being targeted.
What is this TikTok trend?
It’s known as the “Orbeez Challenge,” and it’s happening all over the country. Investigators say pranksters use toy guns to fire soft, jelly-like Orbeez beads at unsuspecting people.
One man, who only wants to go by his first name, Brad, says it happened to him when he walked into a grocery store in Draper. He spotted a group of teens that walked past him in a parking lot, and he felt they looked suspicious.
Brad said, “All the sudden, I heard ‘click, click, click, click’ and [there were] six or eight impacts on my back.”
Since the Orbeez were filled with water, Brad says it only stung for a short time, but it was definitely startling since he didn’t know what he was being hit with. That same night, a woman walking her dog along the Orson Smith Trailhead was targeted, and six juveniles were arrested.
Prank has already sparked dangerous retaliation
The real problem, investigators say, is that the pranksters could be scaring potentially dangerous people when they fire these beads. At first, no one knows what’s being fired, all they see is someone is shooting at them. On March 15, a pair of male suspects with airsoft masks went into the back of the Oak Wood Fire Kitchen and surprised the people eating inside. Investigators say the witnesses thought the suspects were firing real guns, at first. Draper Police Lieutenant Pat Evans says if anyone in that restaurant had a weapon, the suspects could be dead.
Evans said, “We have a lot of gun-carrying and concealed carrying people in this state. We don’t want to see an unsuspecting victim shot at one of these kids.”
An even more dangerous situation happened on March 4. Evans says a group of teens was driving around the Draper Peaks parking lot, shooting gel balls at random people. However, the teens’ car was blocked, and Evans says a man and a woman violently confronted the group.
“They approached the driver, in particular. The man actually pulled what we believe was a real handgun and pointed it at this kid’s head, demanding the kid hand over his gun,” Evans said. “While this was going on, the woman was also punching this same driver.”
He says once the woman had the gun, she bashed it on the hood of the car. Neither the man nor the woman have been identified.
Evans says the department has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to these pranks, and they will hold anyone who does it accountable. KSL.com is reporting cities like Vernal, Tooele and Richfield have also warned parents about the “Orbeez Challenge.”