WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Law enforcement agencies throughout Palm Beach County are looking into a new online threat informing the community of a night when “all crime is legal.”
The idea is being ripped right from the Hollywood horror flick “The Purge,” a fictional account of a world where crime is legal one day a year.
“It scared the life out of me,” said Tracy Lentz of West Palm Beach.
While monitoring her daughter’s Facebook page, Lentz saw a picture informing the community “all crime is legal” in Palm Beach County on Sept. 1st from midnight until 6 a.m.
The potential threat has spread to other cities like Detroit and Louisville.
“Some people might take this seriously and go do it in our town,” said Lentz.
Law enforcement experts said what happens on screen is much different when it translates to reality.
“It’s good to be fearful, but not paranoid,” said Andrew Scott, the former Boca Raton police chief who is now a law enforcement consultant.
Scott said law enforcement agencies cannot blow the threat off, they will have to look into it to be on the safe side.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the West Palm Beach Police Department both have said it is aware of the situation and looking into the picture.
“It’s very unrealistic that the general population is going to engage in this,” said Scott.
Hoax or not, Lentz said she is not taking any chances in the unlikely event there a “purge.”
“More than likely not. But that fact that people at that age are posting this stuff on Facebook is what bothers me the most,” said Lentz.
In previous cases when the threat was posted in other cities, the day came and went without problems.