The Short of It
As we reported last week, several trick-or-treaters in Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania found needles or razor blades stuffed in their Halloween candy, but the incidents in Pennsylvania turned out to be nothing more than kids' hoaxes.
The photo kind of looked shady from the get-go. As my kids and I watched the news reports in our Philadelphia suburb about the Halloween candy that was supposedly tampered with—needles were discovered inside five mini wrapped Twix—even my 10-year-old was suspicious. "But that needle is so long," he said, walking over to the TV and pointing an accusatory finger at the screen. "How would the wrapper have even fit over that?"
Good question, kid. And one that perhaps the authorities should have been asking sooner, because officials now say the reports turned out to be a hoax. The worst part? The scam was thought up by a bunch of kids.
"Sometimes proving that a crime did not happen is as important as proving that a crime did happen," said District Attorney Tom Hogan. "In this case, law enforcement treated the initial report seriously, notified the community for the sake of safety, but kept doggedly investigating the matter. As a result of that persistence, we are now able to assure the citizens of Kennett Square that nobody was trying to harm any children with Halloween candy."
The 11- and 12-year-old kids who masterminded the scam will not be formally charged, but both families have come forward to apologize for the incident and the serious impact it has had on the community.
"Anybody who has raised kids knows it sometimes takes some work and time to get the full truth behind an initial story," Hogan added. "At this point, we are simply glad that we can assure the parents and children of Chester County that Halloween remains a safe and fun event."
Kennett Square is not alone. A girl in western Pennsylvania has also admitted to making up a story that she found a razor blade in her candy after cutting her mouth and requiring stitches. Authorities are also investigating another report of a razor blade found in a Halloween Snickers bar in Bristol Borough, Bucks County, Penn.
And kids aren't the only ones who played tricks with their treats. Gloucester Township police say 37-year-old Robert Ledrew, of Blackwood, N.J., told them on Nov. 1 that he found sewing needles in candy from trick-or-treating, but officers discovered he had posted a photo of a needle and comments about the incident on Facebook the day before. He has been charged with making a false police report.