Bangor Police Weigh In On Recent TikTok Fad ‘Orbeez Challenge’
It would appear that there's no shortage of less-than-intelligent ideas circulating around the internet. And a good number of the most terrible/dangerous/ridiculous ideas seem to generate from everyone's favorite social media site, TikTok.
The newest trend is called the "#Orbeez Challenge", and it's creating some issues with serious repercussions for the people involved. The gist: participants are encouraged to take small gell balls, called "Orbeez" (filled with liquid) ...
...and use them as ammo in air-powered toy guns.
The thought is to then use these guns and this ammo and ambush your targets (which are supposed to be friends or family) in a friendly battle.
But that's not what's happening.
Instead, folks are picking random targets to engage with, and that's creating its own set of problems. Sgt. Wade Betters from the Bangor Police Department explains:
"From a police perspective, I’d warn against doing or attempting to do/complete any TikTok challenge that put your safety, and/or health at risk."
Betters says that while there hasn't been a real issue here in Maine, yet, there's always the risk that kids will be inspired by what they see online, and that could turn into a problem, with legal implications for the kids involved.
"Yeah… across the county, some people (likely teens) have been charged in connection with this. Any incident reported to involve a “gun” of any type will prompt serious/heightened police response. If a person (victim) feels scared/threatened no matter if the gun was real or fake, the offender(s) can/will be charged/arrested for criminal threatening, a class D criminal offense."
Sgt. Betters goes on to cite the actual law:
"§209. Criminal threatening
1. A person is guilty of criminal threatening if he intentionally or knowingly places another person in fear of imminent bodily injury.
2. Criminal threatening is a Class D crime. "
Aside from the initial "Criminal Threatening" crime folks can find themselves charged with, should they decide to participate in the "Orbeez Challenge", Sgt. Betters says there are other risks associated when dealing with weapons...even ones classified as "toys."
"We’d also warn people against altering their (fake gun) to make it look more real... Opposite that, some bad guys actually alter/paint real guns to look like toy guns… This really leaves the police at a disadvantage. When a caller reports a suspect as having 'a toy' or 'bb gun' etc… the police can consider that information, but sadly…we can’t rely on it."
As Sgt. Betters said, in other parts of the nation folks are also dealing with the issue of the newest "Orbeez Challenge."
Vice News says nationwide, schools have been put on lockdown, and a number of teens have already been arrested as a result of this challenge.
"The new challenge has been triggering for local law enforcement. One sheriff’s department took the opportunity to remind everyone that it’s 'NEVER okay to SHOOT at ANYONE with ANYTHING.'"
Here's a look at some of the other situations law enforcement agencies have been dealing with in other states.