Cops called after dad tries to pawn baby as a prank

CCTV footage released by the police shows father Richard Slocum trying to pawn his baby at a store in Sarasota, on Florida's Gulf coast.
CCTV footage released by the police shows father Richard Slocum trying to pawn his baby at a store in Sarasota, on Florida's Gulf coast.

MIAMI • A man walked into a pawn shop in Florida, put his baby on the counter and, according to police, asked how much he could get for the kid.

"This is what I got," the father, Mr Richard Slocum, said as he placed the infant before the owner of the store in Sarasota, on Florida's Gulf coast. "He's barely used, 7 ½ months old. What do you think he's worth?"

The father later told officers he had been joking, but the shop owner did not see the humour and called the police.

"He was pretty serious about it," Mr Richard Jordan told a local television news channel. "He spun the baby around, and said, 'Can I pawn this?'"

Mr Jordan called the police as soon as Mr Slocum left, saying he was concerned for the child's well-being.

"Slocum claims that his encounter with the store clerk was a prank and that he wanted to place his own video on social media," the police department said in a statement.

Mr Slocum contacted law enforcement himself after he heard on social media that they were trying to identify the person behind the stunt. Dozens of police and local officials then descended on his home, he said.

"They didn't find it funny or hilarious at all and there was a lot of resources and time and money that went into it," said Mr Slocum, a single parent who makes video clips that he, at least, considers humorous and shares them on Snapchat.

Police said detectives verified the child was safe and contacted social services. No criminal charges have been filed.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 12, 2019, with the headline 'Cops called after dad tries to pawn baby as a prank'. Print Edition | Subscribe