They had concocted an elaborate plot, police say.
Their goal? To kidnap the 17-year-old daughter of a man they believed to be wealthy, and to rob the family’s home in the process, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s office in the panhandle of northwest Florida.
The four teen boys’ preparations for the attempted kidnapping on Tuesday night were extensive as well, the sheriff’s office said on Facebook: Inside the SUV they were driving, the four teens had stockpiled masks, guns, a knife, a roll of tape and latex gloves.
They even put barrels on the road leading to the family’s home, police said, hoping to obstruct the teenage girl’s path to the house so she would get out of the car.
But that wasn’t enough to make it past their would-be victim’s father, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
The quartet of would-be kidnappers’ plans started to go awry when the girl saw the barrels and simply drove around them, police said. She also called her 51-year-old father to tell him about the roadblocks.
A short time later, around 10:30 p.m., the father heard dogs barking and a car door slam. Floodlights were activated as well, according to the sheriff’s office, so the father armed himself with a gun to go investigate.
What he found, the sheriff’s office said, was someone trying to break into his garage.
“He fired three shots and the intruders fled into the woods,” the sheriff's office said.
The sheriff’s office said their plan had been to kidnap the girl, then overpower her father to rob the home.
Instead, police say they caught up with four teens driving a white 2016 Jeep Liberty away from the crime scene. The four face attempted kidnapping and attempted home invasion robbery charges, the sheriff’s office said.
The oldest — 19-year old Keilon Johnson — was taken to the Okaloosa County Jail, while minors Austin French, 17, Tyree Johnson, 16, and Kamauri Horn, 15, were booked at a juvenile detention center, the sheriff’s office said.