This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
The tranquility of a nice little neighborhood in Edmonton was sliced apart by the sounds of thrash metal as a rented U-Haul van ripped around the corner, stopping in front of a small, quaint house with two trees. Inside the van, a dog barked, as if trying to compete with the Municipal Waste track blasting from the speakers at full volume. The back doors opened up and out popped ten young men wearing ill-fitting nylons over their faces and brandishing baseball bats. They all ran to the house and, after a brief time spent tracking down the hidden house key, filed into the residence, and slammed the door.
Six different neighbors watched this happen. And they all called the police within seconds.
Once inside, Gavin Wilson and Ross Nicholl sat alongside eight other friends from the Edmonton music scene. Their faces smushed by the constrictive pantyhose; in their hands they gripped foam baseball bats. There was a nervous excitement to the room—none of them had ever done something like this before, and they couldn't wait to kick off this bachelor party.
A friend near Nicholl hoisted a sleeping bag over his head, ready to slam it onto their prey—their soon-to-be-wed buddy Landon Scott McHardy—before duct-taping his feet and wrapping his arms with industrial saran wrap. They had everything planned out, they talked to Scott McHardy's fiancee to find out about the location of the hidden key, they knew exactly when the bachelor was coming home.
They only fucked up one thing: They forgot to inform the neighbors.
Two cars simultaneously pulled up to the house. One was Scott McHardy, and the other... a ghost car. The group inside assumed only that the groom had arrived and prepared themselves. A knock on the door, follow by:
"EPS Police! Open up!"
After a few moments of confusion, Wilson went to open the door thinking that the bachelor was simply turning the joke around on the group. But what he saw was not his friend, but two stressed out middle-aged policemen with their pistols pointed at his face.
"Show me your hands! Show me your fucking hands!"
All available cars, a helicopter, and the K-9 unit were en route to the home to thwart the bachelor party.
Two weeks prior, the plot was set into motion after the betrothed started complaining that his friends hadn't thrown him a bachelor party. That's when his friend Dan Tansy decided to not only give his buddy a bachelor party, but the best fucking bachelor party that one could have. One that involved them pouring beer onto him while he was immobilized by a sleeping bag in the back of a moving U-Haul rocking trash metal.
"It's a good thing that they caught us when they did, because if they would of caught us in the van we would of been seriously arrested," said Tansy.
We can all guess what their inspiration was
Edmonton Police had reason to take the stunt seriously. Recently, Edmonton's first police fatality in 25 years occurred when Norman Raddatz opened fired through a door striking two officers and killing Const. Daniel Woodall. In the ensuing weeks, the EPS had been on high alert and following every code of conduct to a T. One of the officers who talked to the partygoers after the situation told them that he "was ready for fucking war" and came ripping down the road with his weapon on his lap.
When the police arrived on scene, two cops stormed the front door and two waited in the backyard with guns drawn. Several of the people in the house debated running out the back door because they had petty outstanding warrants for things like speeding tickets and noise complaints. It's a damn good thing they didn't, because the story of a man wearing nylon on his head armed with a baseball bat running at two police officers with guns drawn may not have had the happiest ending.
Police breaking up the faux kidnapping. Video courtesy Gavin Wilson.
Everyone inside remained pretty much frozen except for Nicholl who pulled off his mask, put down his bat, went to the nearest couch, crossed his legs, put his hands by his sides, and just stared at the wall for the duration of the incident. Wilson, however, was at the door of the house dealing with a very stressed-out cop wielding a pistol.
"I just kept yelling at the guy over and over that it was a bachelor party and assumed that I looked very scared," Wilson said. "He kept yelling contradictory statements at me like, 'Open the door,' 'Don't open the door.' I was like, 'Fuck, please tell me what you want if you are going to point that at my face.'"
Eventually the cop finally recognized that this situation wasn't a danger and holstered his weapon. He took everyone's IDs and tested the foam bats on the walls.
"They checked all of our IDs and weren't surprised to find that none of us had any criminal past because we were obviously really fucking bad [at being] criminals," said Tansy.
The officer in charge pulled them aside after the fiasco to tell them what was up. He threatened to charge them the cost of deploying the helicopter—about a grand—and completely laid into the group. After cursing the boys out and making sure they knew exactly why what they did was dumb, the cop in charge ended up saying, "I can tell that this was good-hearted in nature and just really fucking stupid."
When called for comment the EPS doubled down on this.
"The Edmonton Police Service reminds citizens that mimicking criminal activity can cause concern in the community and result in the deployment of police resources that are already overstretched, possibly pulling police away from those who may truly require assistance," they wrote in an email to VICE.
After the situation was clear of tension, a few of the cops took some photos with the boys, who then went back to Gavin's for a fire, some well-earned drinks, and to get the bachelor obliterated.
This time they succeeded in their mission.
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