Two boys in the Vancouver suburb of Langley took their playful tormenting of a local resident a step too far, turning the man briefly into a suspect in an attempted child abduction. But they won't face charges.
Langley RCMP have confirmed that claims by the two 11-year-old boys that a man tried to order them to get in his car as they were walking home from school Jan. 15 were false.
The pair said a man had pulled up beside them in a car and said "you better get in," Global BC News reported. They ran home and told their parents but police patrols turned up no sign of the car.
The initial report sparked a police investigation, including publication in the media of a composite sketch of the would-be "abductor" drawn from the boys' description.
"This resulted in the male suspect himself, coming forward to advise police he thought it might be his likeness in the sketch," the Mounties said in a news release Monday. "The boys were questioned again, at which time; they admitted they had not been truthful in their original statements."
Apparently the boys had been playing "Nicky Nicky Nine Doors," knocking on the man's front door and running away, the Langley Times reported. They upped the ante by suggesting he tried to abduct them.
Well, the police didn't think it was funny. Besides putting the community on edge unnecessarily, such false reports can desensitize the public, the RCMP said. Not to mention the impact on an innocent person's reputation.
"He has a family," Langley RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Holly Marks told the Vancouver Province. "There was a potential for this to have a huge impact on the man because of how distinctive his vehicle is and, likely, a number of people could have recognized him from the picture."
"The sanctity of an individual's rights and the criminal justice system are grossly violated when false complaints are made to police," Insp. Amrik Virk, the Langley detachment's operations officer, said in a statement.
Making a false report to police is a Criminal Code offence. But the boys can't face charges because of their age.
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"They both wrote letters of apology to the victim, apologized in person and will be completing some yard work for him as a form of restorative justice," Marks told Yahoo! Canada News via email. "The parents are very on board with this and feel terrible for what their kids have done."