FORT WORTH -- It's a prank that Fort Worth homicide detectives don't find funny.
Apparently inspired by a joke that's been making the rounds on Twitter and other social networking sites, people are randomly texting strangers that they've disposed of a body.
"When I'm bored, I send a text to a random number saying 'I hid the body ... now what?'" reads one version of the joke.
In the past three weeks, the Fort Worth homicide unit has fielded four reports from residents who received similar text messages. Police say they've had to investigate each in case it wasn't a prank.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
"These investigations have taken homicide detectives away from ongoing murder cases, only to find it is actually a prank," homicide Sgt. Cheryl Johnson said.
Johnson said the unit has discovered that other police departments nationwide "have been burdened by similar reports."
A Google search for "I hid the body texts" Thursday afternoon turned up 280,000 hits.
Last week, an Arkansas teenager got a stern warning from police after she sent the text to a stranger who turned out to be a police detective. The 15-year-old told investigators that she got the idea from a posting on the website Pinterest, according to The Associated Press.
Fort Worth police say pranksters could be arrested and face a charge of making a false alarm or report, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
"We're going to possibly start making arrests," said Sgt. Pedro Criado, a police spokesman. "It's a crime."
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655