NYPD: Suspected gunpoint abduction may be hoax

A surveillance video shows a couple, moments before

A surveillance video shows a couple, moments before an apparent abduction, walking together on the sidewalk on Haven Avenue near West 173rd Street. (Credit: NPYD)

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A suspected gunpoint abduction of a man and a woman Friday in Washington Heights may have been a hoax spawned from a birthday celebration, the NYPD said Sunday night.

The alleged abduction was caught by a video surveillance camera and was originally publicized by the NYPD in an effort to find the victims and suspects.

The video showed a man and woman running and then a dark minivan entering the scene and stopping.

But after studying the video police now think they may be dealing with a faked incident.

The incident captured on the video took place about 6:55 p.m. Several people notified police after hearing a woman scream and seeing two unidentified men forcing her and the man into a vehicle at gunpoint. Witnesses told police it happened near Haven Avenue and West 173rd Street.

The minivan drove south on Haven Avenue from West 173rd, police said.

"Detectives are investigating the possibility that an incident Friday that appeared to be a gunpoint abduction in Manhattan's 33rd Precinct may have been a hoax staged among friends to celebrate one of their birthdays," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

If the incident turns out to be a hoax, criminal charges may result, Browne indicated.

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