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Bogus Easter Bunny at work
5-year-old among prankster's victims

By Paul Huggins 340-2395

A bad bunny has surfaced in Decatur, playing a prank on hunters of The Decatur Daily Easter egg.

On Monday, eight people from ages 5 to 82 found what they thought was the $500 prize egg hidden as part of the annual promotion in the newspaper's classified ads. Each false egg was found in a public park with a printed message:

"Hipity Hopity

"Your Money is on its Way. All you have to do is take me to the Decatur Daily to claim your prize."

The messages also had a false code to make it look more official.

The real egg does have a small certificate indicating the finder has won the prize, but it doesn't contain any verification codes as the fake eggs show.

One of those fooled by the prank was 5-year-old Braxton Hood. He and his brother Preston were at Rhodes Ferry Park with their grandparents Brenda and Charles Wall when Braxton found it along a wooden fence.

Mrs. Wall said they were at the park to watch trains, not to hunt eggs, and because Braxton found it so easily, it made her doubt it was the prize.

"I didn't think it would be that simple," she said. "It was just right there at his eye level."

Braxton, however, already had his hopes up of spending the money on a toy train.

Frankie Graves also was suspicious of how easily his 82-year-old mother, Margaret Graves, found a plastic egg claiming to be the Daily prize at Delano Park. He called the newspaper before he took her to the office to claim the $500.

"It's just mean," he said.

A younger adult can more easily laugh it off, but a child or senior citizen will have a harder time accepting it, Graves said.

The eggs turned in Friday were different colors but according to already published clues, the real egg is green.

One way to ensure it's the right egg is to check for a signature on the certificate.

Anyone who finds an egg with a signature can verify whether it's the true prize by calling Teresa Jordan at 340-2438 and reading the name of the signature.

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