A new TikTok challenge that has been making the rounds has multiple local police departments issuing warnings about the danger behind the act.
The "Orbeez Challenge" encourages participants to use toy guns to shoot at people, cars, and homes with gel-based beads or similar. It's been taking place in other parts of the state and across the U.S.
Police in Malden and Framingham are calling the challenge "dangerous" and say that the "guns can look like a real firearm and have the potential to cause serious injuries."
Malden police went further, saying in a statement Tuesday that these water beads "can lead to criminal charges, as serious as a felony" if fired at people or property.
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"They are toys. However, they can be used in a very dangerous way,” Lt. Michael Powell said. "Some of these toy guns actually look real and that obviously raises some challenges with police officers that are responding to some of these incidents.”
The latest warnings come amid a surge in incidents related to this challenge. On Tuesday, a car passing by a Malden neighborhood fired two pellets from inside a vehicle. The people were hit, but they weren't hurt.
This was Malden's first experience with the Orbeez Challenge, and police are working to find out who’s responsible. But they’re worried because the water-filled pellets can be frozen solid and the gun’s speed can then be adjusted to increase the rate at which they’re fired.
"It seems like a lot of the challenges are really putting people at risk and obviously it’s a huge concern to the communities,” Powell said.
Earlier last month, three people in Concord were struck by a pellet gun. Police said at the time that the incidents could be a part of the recent TikTok trend.
Police are urging parents to discuss the dangers of this challenge with their children and say it’s not a game or joke. If you’re caught shooting someone with these guns, you could have felony charges.
"I don’t even understand what goes through these people’s heads. These kids, these challenges. It’s going too far now," one woman said.
"I think that it’s dangerous and it’s problematic to people especially if you catch somebody driving or something like that, it could cause a car accident,” one man shared.