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.