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'Alarming' April Fools' Day post triggers criminal investigation
VANCOUVER -- Mounties in Osoyoos launched a criminal investigation into what they called an "alarming" social media post believed to be a prank.
The post claims people will be canvassing door to door in the community to try to find households that would be willing to take in seasonal workers. Mounties also said the post contained other inappropriate comments about how the workers were planning to repay the homeowners.
Mounties say Osoyooos residents alerted police about the scam on March 31.
"RCMP share the general public's concern over such a claim, especially amidst the COVID-19 public health emergency declared by the provincial government, which has led to orders surrounding social and physical distancing from the provincial health officer," Mounties said in a news release.
Investigators have spoken to the person they believe is responsible for creating the post, who told them it was supposed to be an April Fools' Day prank.
Officers said the person involved has removed the post and are encouraging the public to stay vigilant and continue to report any suspicious activity to police.
Sgt. Jason Bayda said the investigation has now concluded and police will not be recommending any charges. He's also asked anyone thinking of pulling a prank related to COVID-19 to think twice about their actions.
"Right now, we have people dying all over the world. We have front line workers, doctors and nurses and paramedics and fire and police—everyone out there still working trying to keep everyone safe. And this is serious," said Bayda. "You've got a lot people at home very worried. And then you've got people making jokes of it. And this really isn't the time to make jokes. If you're going to make a joke, make it about something else and not about this pandemic."