Orbeez Challenge: Bolingbrook police issue warning about dangerous new social media trend
BOLINGBROOK, Ill. - Police in southwest suburban Chicago are warning the public about a dangerous new social media trend that's sweeping the nation.
The Bolingbrook Police Department said Tuesday it has received an influx in complaints and schoolroom chatter about the Orbeez Challenge.
The viral social media trend encourages people to shoot random bystanders with Orbeez water beads and gel pellets from toy guns, according to police.
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"These toy firearms are similar to air soft guns, but shoot small gel balls that can cause injuries to eyes and soft tissue," Bolingbrook police said in a statement.
The gel beads are typically created with water, but many conducting the challenge have begun freezing the beads to intensify their effects.
Police also warned parents about the dangers associated with carrying realistic toy firearms, adding that the village bans the use and transportation of toy firearms within village limits.
Police agencies across the country have been issuing similar warnings about the Orbeez Challenge this week. In some of the incidents, those involved face charges.
ORBEEZ CHALLENGE: POLICE WARN ABOUT THE DANGERS OF THE TREND INVOLVING GEL PELLETS, AIR GUNS
Four teenagers were charged after firing a gel pellet gun outside a middle school in Pennsylvania, sending students and staff running.
"I don't even want to speculate what could happen, but you can imagine if an officer sees a weapon pointing out of a car and people running especially at a school and we know how sensitive everything in a school is, things could have really escalated," said Chris Flanagan, the Superintendent of Police in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania. "We are lucky that that didn't happen."
In Georgia, two 14-year-olds who shot gel pellets at children playing in a park were charged with aggravated assault.