Authorities say that two Forsyth County teens have been arrested and charged in connection with an alleged kidnapping prank that drew a large law enforcement presence to The Collection in south Forsyth last week.
Ava Coleman, 17 and Christopher Jones Kratzer, 19, have been charged by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office with felony counts for raising a false public alarm and misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct, Sheriff's Office spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater said on Monday.
According to Rainwater, on Wednesday, July 3, the two teens allegedly staged an elaborate prank that they intended to film and upload to social media, in which Coleman would be tied up in the back seat of an SUV screaming for help as the vehicle circled through the shopping center’s parking lot.
At approximately 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the Forsyth County 911 dispatch center began receiving multiple calls from people at The Collection who witnessed the incident and believed that it was an active abduction. Callers stated that the female’s hands appeared to be bound by either handcuffs or zip ties, while her head was covered by what appeared to be a pillowcase.
Reports state that the vehicle was driven by a Hispanic male, and the woman was heard yelling, “He is going to kill me.”
Rainwater said that eight Forsyth County patrol cars were quickly dispatched to the scene, along with five officers from the Johns Creek Police Department and an off-duty Gwinnett County Police Officer that was already in the area.
From sightings of the vehicle’s tag numbers, officers were able to track the vehicle to its registered owner, a man who allegedly told deputies that his daughter had taken the vehicle with his permission to do a prank. With the man’s help, officers were able to locate and perform a felony traffic stop of the SUV in the parking lot of the John’s Creek United Methodist Church on Medlock Bridge Road.
"For 20 straight minutes, we had deputies racing across Forsyth County to help this girl, thinking that this was a true abduction ... that's unacceptable," Rainwater said.
Even though the situation ended without harm coming to the officers, suspects or civilians, Rainwater said that with a felony traffic stop, where suspects are ordered out of their vehicle at gunpoint, someone could have easily been injured or killed.
"So many things could have gone wrong," he said. "We truly thought that there was a kidnapping in process."
Rainwater said that Coleman surrendered herself to the Sheriff's Office on Friday, July 5 and was released shortly after on bond.
Kratzer is being held in the Forsyth County Jail under no bond for allegedly violating the terms of his probation during the incident.
Previously, Kratzer was arrested by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office in April of 2018 after he damaged five vehicles by throwing blocks of wood and other objects out the window of his vehicle at passing cars. He later pleaded guilty to six counts of criminal damage to property and was sentenced to nine years of probation and 200 hours of community service.