Old School Inspired Kidnapping Prank Prompts NYPD Manhunt, Helicopters, Real Life Consequences

The thing about reenacting a movie trope in real life, is that real life consequences will follow. Always. Because it's not a movie. Gravity, judgement, debt, concerned witnesses, police, repercussions all exist.

So when friends of Cristian Joe thought it might be in their best interest to just throw caution to the winds to revive a 10-year-old, scripted Will Ferrell/Vince Vaughn stunt from Old School, they were surprised at the result. After Joe learned of his friends' plans for a weekend getaway to celebrate his birthday, they decided to "throw him off" the trail with a kidnapping. Five of Joe's friends approached Joe and his girlfriend on Haven Ave., sauntering down the street with some groceries on a lovely Friday evening at 7 p.m. The friends lept out of a rented van, pulled a pillowcase over Joe's head, and sped off into the night towards a weekend of merrymaking.

Understandably, bystanders thought they were witnessing a full-fledged kidnapping in Washington Heights, so they alerted the NYPD. The NYPD proceeded to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours in order to save an ostensible victim from masked kidnappers. The unsuccessful manhunt involved helicopters, emergency service cops, and even a commandeered Columbia University building as a designated base.

Meanwhile, a group of several college friends were wilding out in Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania, celebrating Cristian Joe's 30th birthday. When the party-goers returned to New York City on Sunday, they were shocked to see a video of the kidnapping posted all over the news. Then, what was surely one of the more sheepish phone calls in history, one of them called the police to let them know.

"They kept talking about, ‘Let's do it like the movie Old School!" reported Diana DeJesus, 55, the mother of the girlfriend of the "victim" (victim of hilarity!). "It was really very innocent," she continued, "Then, when it was all over the media, they were shocked." At having gotten away with a stupidly crude kidnapping or that they weren't living the plot of a decade-old-buddy-frat-romp?

[New York Post | Gothamist]