LOWELL (CBS) – Lowell Police surrounded a convenience store Tuesday night believing there was an armed robbery happening inside. Instead, they found three amateur filmmakers who were shooting a scene for a short video they planned to put on YouTube.
The video that Aamer Nazami, Pat Farrell and Josh McGlouflin planned to make centered around a clerk who is new on the job and cannot open the register when a robber demands it.
In the video, Farrell is dressed in all black, wearing a mask and pointing a gun at Nazami.
The three friends noticed a police cruiser outside so Nazami decided to go out and let them know what he was up to. “As soon as I walked out I was greeted with the sight of what looked like 20 police officers screaming at me,” he said.
The officers had their guns drawn as they entered the store. They found Farrell and ordered him to the ground as they surrounded him. “I was pretty afraid,” he said. “It’s kind of a serious situation if the cops are involved.”
Lowell Police say they did take the armed robbery report seriously. That same convenience store had been the scene of a hold up and stand off a decade earlier.
“At the time it wasn’t too funny,” said Lowell Police Captain Kelly Richardson. “We laughed about it today, but someone could have been hurt doing this. Common sense goes a long way.”
The three college students weren’t cited for any crime. Richardson says he thinks they learned their lesson. He reminds other filmmakers to call police first before staging a crime.
Nazami, McGlouflin, and Farrell do plan to keep making their humorous YouTube videos. But, they say the next one will have a revised script.
“I think we’re going to try to keep doing YouTube videos just not something that intense next time,” said Farrell.