ORLANDO, Fla. — Authorities are on alert after images began circulating online last week claiming that several cities will experience a night of legal violence just like in the movie “The Purge.”
In the horror film, there is a 12-hour period one night a year when all crime — including murder — is completely legal.
“The Purge” social media prank began gaining national attention last week when a teen posted a tweet of an image he created saying a purge would take place in Louisville, Ky., Friday night, according to WAVE 3 News. Louisville police took the threat seriously and increased patrol on the night of the alleged purge.
Around the same time the Louisville teen posted the threat on Twitter Wednesday, a screenshot from a fake news site claiming that 112 people in Chicago had been killed when a group of teens decided to re-enact the horror movie was heavily reblogged on Tumblr.
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The satire site Cream Bmp Daily posted the fake story shortly after “The Purge: Anarchy” debuted last month, although it went mostly unnoticed until last week.
No “Purge”-like violence broke out in Louisville and the teen responsible for the original tweet apologized to police, but the images threatening violence in other cities are still circulating online.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office released a public statement on Facebook saying officials there are aware of the threatened purge but at this point they don’t believe the threats are credible.
Some images list the date for that purge as Aug. 31 while others list Aug. 20 as a purge date for Orlando, Jacksonville, Kissimmee and Pensacola in Florida.
Despite the prevalence of these images and more that list major cities across the country, no actual purge has taken place.