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Police: Halloween Candy Tampering Was Hoax

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Halloween (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Halloween (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 11/4/10 11:18 a.m.

Teenage Boy Charged With Felony Disorderly Conduct

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (CBS) - A 16-year-old boy is charged with a felony, after he allegedly created a hoax that someone was tampering with trick-or-treat candy being given to kids in Schaumburg.

The boy, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, had been charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct.

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Police initially received reports that candy given to children Halloween night had foreign objects inserted in it. “Either a needle or a pin … was inserted into a candy bar,” since “there was a small tear in the packaging … brought in to [police],” Schaumburg police Sgt. John Nebl said Monday.

No one was injured or sickened, but at the time, police cautioned parents to inspect any candy before allowing children to eat it, and throw out opened or damaged candy.

But it turned out that the teen had actually put a needle in a piece of candy in his home, and then claimed someone had given it to him that way while trick-or-treating. No one else was involved in the hoax, Schaumburg police said.

The boy’s father thought someone really had tampered with the candy and notified police. But it turned out that the boy was just trying to get family members’ attention by making it all up, police said.

While warnings are issued every Halloween about the threat of poisoned or damaged trick-or-treat candy, the reality is that it has rarely ever happened.

The urban legends reference Web site Snopes.com said even the few suspected cases of trick-or-treat candy tampering have turned out to have alternate explanations.

In a suspected 1974 case in Houston, it turned out a father had given his own 8-year-old son poisoned Pixie Stix on Halloween to collect on an insurance policy. In a 1970 case in Detroit, authorities found a deceased 5-year-old boy’s Halloween candy sprinkled with heroin, but it turned out his family was trying to cover for an uncle after the boy got into the man’s heroin stash, Snopes reported.

Numerous reports of candy tampering surfaced on Halloween 1982, which was after the infamous Tylenol poisonings killed seven people in the Chicago area. But it turned out none of the cases truly involved handing out poisoned candy to unsuspecting trick-or-treaters, Snopes reported.

Also, “nearly all” reports of pins, needles and razor blades being used to tamper with Halloween treats are also unfounded, Snopes reported.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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