A 20-year-old man and two 14-year-old boys have been arrested after police caught them raising money for a fake funeral on the side of the road.
Armed with handmade signs and water bottles to collect cash, Richard Navarrete, 20, and the two boys, who were not identified, stood at the corner of U.S. Highway 395 and Palmdale Road in Victorville, California, asking for contributions, police said in a statement posted on Facebook.
"RIP Johnny," read one sign, with a picture of a boy holding a water gun. "Funeral donations."
"Anything is a blessing," said another.
The water bottles were stuffed with cash from well-meaning contributors who'd donated, thanks to the signs.
Victorville police investigators discovered the boy pictured on the signs, the son of Navarrete's friend, was in fact alive and well.
The man and two boys were detained Monday, and charged with theft by false pretenses.
It's believed there may have been more victims who donated Monday and days prior, and police are asking anyone with information to contact them at (760) 241-2911.