Denver, CO

Denver police warn teens not to follow new TikTok challenge

David Heitz
Denver Police Department

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Denver police aren't playing around when it comes to a new teen prank using toy guns.

In the "The Orbeez Challenge," which has gone viral on TikTok, teens upload videos of themselves shooting Orbeez balls out of car windows at passersby.

According to a Facebook post, the Denver Police Department has filed three reports of such shootings this month. "In each report, the victims were on foot when the unknown suspects shot at them with gel balls from a moving vehicle."

Police say that while it might seem like a harmless prank, it can cause injuries. Shooting from a vehicle could also cause panic if someone thinks the toy gun is a real gun.

Police could make arrests

Although police haven't arrested anyone, they warn, "anyone caught taking part in this challenge could face city or state criminal charges."

Squishy Orbeez balls contain a watery gel but weren't made to be fired from guns, the manufacturer Spin Master told NPR.

"Children's product safety is paramount at Spin Master, and we are committed to providing children and their families with the highest quality toys, games and activities. Spin Master does not manufacture or sell gel guns," the Orbeez manufacturer said in a statement.

"Orbeez are designed for educational, creative, and sensory play and are not intended to be used as projectiles or inserted in mechanisms."

Orbeez balls can cause injuries

Doctors have recorded injuries from people shot with Orbeez balls, NPR reported.

Denver police warn the balls can hurt somebody when shot from gel-ball or air-soft guns.

"While those taking part in this 'challenge' may see it as a harmless prank, shooting projectiles of any sort at others can result in injury."

Denver reacts to Orbeez balls shootings

Commenters on the Denver Police Department's Facebook post didn't hold back about the challenge.

"Pass new laws holding parents partially responsible for their kids’ behaviors so they think twice about having them unless they are willing to be responsible parental units," commented one.

"Cops can't use bean bags, or they get punished (fined or fired) so the public should face jail time and fines for this," said another.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

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