A bizarre hoax involving a prank caller, claiming to be from the fire department, tricked fast food workers into smashing restaurants windows in three states across the United States.
The latest incident occurred Friday in Minnesota, after a man who identified himself as a firefighter called a Burger King restaurant and told workers they were in danger due to increasing gas levels. Unless they broke the windows to relieve the pressure the building would explode, the caller said.
An employee told a CBS-affiliate in Coon Rapids, Minn., he felt scared after receiving the call.
“I guess I was a little scared,” employee Ethan Grew told WCOO. “My other co-workers were doing it so I just followed along.”
WATCH: Employees smash windows at Burger King after prank phone call
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that when police arrived at 9: 30 p.m. Friday they found employees smashing windows of a Burger King.
“The manager explained they’d received a phone call from a male who identified himself as a fireman who said there were dangerous levels of gas in the building and they had to break out all the windows to keep the building from blowing up,” Sgt. Rick Boone told the Star.
The hoax has targeted restaurant locations in other states including Burger Kings in Oklahoma and California, and Wendy’s and a Jack in the Box in Arizona.
A day before the Minnesota incident a caller claiming to be a fire official told workers at a Burger King in Oklahoma that there were high levels of carbon monoxide in the building and the windows needed to be broken.
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Earlier pranks in February, targeted a Wendy’s in Phoenix, Arizona where the caller, claiming to be with the fire department, told the manager they needed to conduct a diagnostic test on the fire system. The manager activated the restaurant’s fire suppression system and was informed he had caused a gas leak and everyone was forced to evacuate the restaurant, according to an ABC-affiliate.
ABC 15 reported the Wendy’s employees then broke out all of the windows and waited for the fire department to arrive.
In Nova Scotia, police in Halifax were searching for a prankster who called more than a dozen local businesses in January posing as a firefighter and asked staff to trigger the business’s fire alarm to test the system.
The hoaxes have been costly for the fast restaurants.
The damage and cost of replacing the glass rang up a bill of $35,000 for the California Burger King; and $10,000 for in the Oklahoma incident.
Following the Minnesota incident police issued a statement that they “WOULD NEVER call a resident or business to take action of any kind.”
“In the event you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a police or fire agency asking you to take some kind of action, consider it a prank and call 911 immediately.”