"Abduction" of Man, Woman in Manhattan Was Hoax: Police

Monday, Apr 1, 2013  |  Updated 9:38 PM EDT
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A planned

NBC 4 New York

A planned "abduction" was supposed to be a surprise for a 26-year-old celebrating a birthday, but the people involved didn't know they'd be caught on tape pulling off what looked like a kidnapping. Marc Santia reports.

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Man, Woman Abducted in Manhattan: Police

Police are searching for at least three people they believe grabbed a couple off the street and pulled them into a car. It all happened in broad daylight in Washington Heights. News Four's Checkey Beckford has more.
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Police say what seemed like the abduction of a man and woman seen forced into a minivan at gunpoint in Manhattan Friday was a hoax staged by friends to celebrate a birthday, NBC 4 New York has learned.

Authorities say the man and woman -- a couple -- who the surveillance video showed appearing to be kidnapped are both fine and the investigation is ongoing.

Police released footage captured by a surveillance camera showing the duo walking down the street near Haven Avenue and West 173rd Street in Washington Heights at about 7 p.m.

The video shows two people running after them, followed by a dark minivan. The minivan goes out of the frame and is then seen speeding in the opposite direction, presumably with the man and woman inside.

Witnesses told police they heard a woman scream in the vicinity; others said they saw the man and woman being forced into the minivan at gunpoint, authorities said.

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