NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The apparent abduction Friday of a Washington Heights couple was nothing more than a surprise birthday hoax, police said Monday.
Police spent the weekend looking for a man and a woman who witnesses said were kidnapped by two men in a dark-colored minivan just before 7 p.m. Friday near 173rd Street and Haven Avenue.
Surveillance video of the incident shows the couple walking down the street as the two men are seen running after them.
Police said several people called 911 to report the incident saying they heard a woman scream and saw the two men forcing the victims into the van at gunpoint. However, no one was ever reported missing.
Watch the video below:
Authorities now say the alleged kidnappers were friends of the victims and were whisking them away to the Poconos.
“For a surprise party for one of the participants,” said NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne.
Browne said while not a crime, the hoax did waste officers’ time and police resources.
“If you’re going to have a birthday party, just put an invitation in the mail,” he said
Police said despite reports, they don’t believe anyone was armed and say no charges will be filed.