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Viral TikTok Challenge Affects Pedestrians in West Michigan

Blame social media for this one!

Two years after authorities announced the presence of a viral new challenge in southwest Michigan, residents are still fearful of this sweeping social media trend.

Police in Dearborn, Michigan, made several arrests in 2022 with help from the public as pedestrians were being assaulted with plastic projectiles. Later that same year, police in Marshall, Michigan, released a stern warning to would-be offenders:

We’ve had recent reports about similar activity here in town; pedestrians who report being shot at with projectiles from moving vehicles. A suspect vehicle has been described as a silver Kia with front-end damage. If you have any information to share, please call dispatch at 269-781-0911 or the Marshall Silent Observer at 269-781-9700. You can also message this (Facebook) page directly to help officers locate and identify the vehicle and suspect(s) involved. It is very likely that video of these incidents are circulating on TikTok, Snapchat, and other social media platforms.

The ‘Orbeez Challenge’ has been the cause of these alarming reports. If you are unfamiliar with Orbeez, they are small beads that grow in size when placed in water. The popular children’s toy can be found at just about any toy store, Walmart, or Target. However, teens are abusing them and are instead using these beads as projectiles to fire at passersby.

This viral challenge has appeared across the country from Michigan to Florida to Oklahoma. There’s even an instance of a television reporter being shot with Orbeez during a remote broadcast!

Police in Kalamazoo, Michigan, say they’ve received several complaints related to the Orbeez Challenge, with some saying the toy guns have been modified to look more realistic, per WWMT News 3. Authorities say if caught, these offenders will face the consequences.

Source: WWMT News 3