NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Police said they broke up a scavenger hunt Friday by arresting 28 high school students who had collected many of the items on a bizarre list--except a baby.
In the point system to determine the winner of the hunt, a baby unrelated to the participant ranked in a tie with a convenience store chain's symbol as the most valuable, police said.
No baby was taken, Metro-Dade police detective Bruce Midgley said, but he estimated that the teen-agers took between $8,000 and $10,000 worth of items.
"Most of the items are things that have to be stolen," Sgt. Jack Solomon said. "There's no other way to get them.
More Than 100 Involved
"Who really knows if any of these kids had seen an unattended child?" he added. "I don't think they would've harmed the baby, but they might have taken the kid and brought it back after they assessed the (game) points."
Midgley said more than 100 teen-agers might be involved, based on what the 28 youths arrested said. Those students, whom police described as well-mannered and apparently affluent, were released into the custody of their parents.
Eleven of the youths were booked on felony charges, most for grand theft, and 17 on misdemeanor charges, mostly trespassing, Solomon said.
Among the items recovered were two mailboxes, mile marker 23 from Interstate 95, a toilet cover, a neon-blue baby seat, an Israeli flag, a load of Crime Watch signs and Florida, New York and Quebec license plates.
But it was Item 29 on the list that most alarmed police: "human baby (must be unrelated)."
Police learned of the scavenger hunt when an officer stopped a car containing three youths who were hauling a pedestrian crosswalk sign--Item 91, Midgley said.