Venice Beach Treasure-Hunting Prank Goes Viral

A group of aspiring actors 'finds' a buried treasure chest on a California beach. Watch what happens next.

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It’s one of those ideas that everyone thinks would be hilarious while lying out on a beach towel — “hey, wouldn’t it be funny if…” — but that few make the effort to attempt. Not only did these guys do it, but their near-perfect execution makes this the best example we’ve seen yet of the the fake-buried-treasure-on-a-crowded-beach-prank.

In a now viral YouTube clip, the perpetrators  head to Venice Beach, Calif., on a sun-baked Memorial Day weekend, where they’d buried a treasure chest packed with chocolate-filled gold coins the night before – presumably knowing that the area would be packed the next day. The group — “four aspiring actors” (of course) from Utah, according to a CBS affiliate — used handheld cameras and smartphones to capture the best found-footage style shots of the treasure and reactions from incredulous beach goers.

At first, from the video, it appears that the pranksters were using a metal-detector to establish their “whoa, we just found this” motive. And then, slowly, a curious crowd starts to develop as the guys start shoveling away and yelling that they found something.

At one point a lifeguard appears to wander into the footage and, sensibly, asks whether they planted the treasure chest. When they responded that it was found, she asked also that they move away from the chest — after all, you never know what’s going to pop out of one of those things. That didn’t seem to have happened, however, and by the end of the clip there’s a big enough crowd swelling around the faux discovery that exhilarated whoops greet the finding of fake gold.

(More: Slimy Summer: The 10 Dirtiest Beaches in America)

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