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‘Alarming’ Early Halloween Lawn Mower Gag Prompts 911 Call

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(Photo Courtesy WBTV.com)

(Photo Courtesy WBTV.com)

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SALISBURY, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) – In a Halloween display reminiscent to a scene from “The Happening,” one eastern Rowan County town had a similar reaction to a death-by-lawnmower situation: Temporary worries eased by annual ridiculousness.

Halloween came sooner than expected for Salisbury residents on Monday. A frantic call to 911 was placed by a concerned driver to report what he saw as a man to be trapped under a riding lawn mower only to discover that it was a Halloween decoration, according to WBTV in Charlotte. An ambulance and emergency responders rushed to the scene, but were assured over the dispatch system that it was a gag.

The decoration features a dummy with “blood-stained” blue jeans and a flannel shirt. The dummy is wearing brown workers boots and brown gloves, and is holding what appears to be a beer can in its right hand. There is also fake blood splattered on the grill of the lawn mower. The realistic display is located on a large patch of open grass near a fairly busy road, feet away from two residential mailboxes and a long and narrow gravel driveway.

No charges are expected to be filed against whoever it was who set up the display, police said. Rowan County Police Capt. John Sifford didn’t see the picture until Tuesday morning, but said that whoever set up the display got the shock effect he or she was looking to garner.

“From what I’ve seen in the picture, it looks like it could be true and I could see where it could cause some people to be upset,” Sifford told CBS Charlotte. “It might have been prudent to put a little sign there, letting people know it wasn’t real; ‘Happy Halloween!’ or something like that. That might have been the smart thing to do so people wouldn’t be alarmed.”

A message left for Rob Robinson, director for Rowan County’s 911 Communications Center, was not returned.

This isn’t the first time a faux dead-person Halloween display has caused a stir in Salisbury, Sifford said, remembering a Jason mask-wearing dummy hanging from the front yard of a residence a couple years back that offended some people.

“We can’t go out and make somebody take down something if it doesn’t violate the laws,” he said.

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