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. Photo 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.

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"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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