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Police: Friends stage abduction at Chesterfield Walmart, planned to post video online

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) -- Authorities say the reported abduction at a Chesterfield County Walmart parking lot on Sunday night was a planned hoax.

The alleged female victim walked into a police station after seeing herself on local media outlets. The woman had one of the men involved in the incident with her when she arrived at the police station.

After police later interviewed the woman and four men involved, it was determined the incident was a hoax planned by the group.   

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Sunday, police responded to the Walmart in Midlothian where several witnesses reported seeing what appeared to be the abduction of a female. On Monday, police released information about the incident and surveillance photos of the female and several of the males involved.

It was later discovered that the woman and four men, who police say are all either 19 or 20 years old, know each other.

Police say after they ate dinner nearby, the group went to the rear of the Walmart parking lot to plan the incident.

According to police, they planned to film the staged abduction and the reaction of onlookers, and post the video online. After they staged the abduction, they left the area together.

Many people on social media expressed frustration over why anyone would joke about the abduction of someone.  

8News spoke with Walmart shoppers who didn't know the incident was a hoax. 

"It's very, very shocking," shopper, Curtis Walker, said. 

Walker and other shoppers said they were nervous about shopping when learning about the reported abduction. 

Savanna Schumacher, another shopper, said it's prompted her to keep her eyes open for anything suspicious while out in public. 

"People need to be a lot more careful, especially nowadays, people will do this now in open daylight at this point," Schumacher said. 

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or through the P3 app.

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