A suburban Cleveland man had a friend pose as a threatening ex-convict during a test to see whether his teenagers would let a stranger into their home, prompting them to flee and call 911, police said Friday.
A prosecutor will consider potential child-endangering charges against the adults.
Westlake police said the father "refused to acknowledge the emotional upset he had caused" and described his 14- and 16-year-old sons' actions as an "epic fail." But officers commended them for barricading themselves in a bedroom, jumping out a second-floor window onto a garage roof and then running to a neighbor's home to call for help.
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The stranger showed up at their door Thursday afternoon and was let in by the younger teen, breaking the family rule on admitting only known relatives, police said. Once inside, the man told the boys that their father owed him money, and he threatened them.
"This guy was crazy. This guy wanted to kill us," the elder son told a dispatcher on the 911 call. "He said, 'If I start chopping up bodies in here, then I'm going to be the bad guy. I just got out of jail two weeks ago.'"
The fake convict, a 45-year-old man from Cleveland Heights, was in contact by phone with the father during the charade, and when the friend thought things had gone too far and wanted to stop, the father insisted it play out, police said.
One son said in the 911 call that he'd spotted his father's car parked in the street but didn't see him in it. The teen said he thought his father was around the house but wasn't certain, so their instinct was to run away.