HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A group of young people started jumping on the hoods of cars Saturday night, January 10, at a little after 10 p.m. on a Henrico County strip mall parking lot on Virginia Center Parkway.
Andy Hook, a car salesman, was at Buffalo Wild Wings and heard the commotion outside.
“We could watch them go up and down the row of cars, jumping on each one,” Hook said, echoing the statement of another witness who spoke to CBS 6 News. “Just jumped straight up, landed on his back. One car, get up, do it again on the next car . . . And just keep going, then came back up the row.”
They jumped on virtually every car on two full rows of the parking lot, we were told.
This could be part of a viral internet meme (repeated visual or spoken concept) born last spring that has since gone viral. “Put ‘em in a coffin” began with rapper/comedian/prankster VonMar and caught on over the summer, spreading through the Vine video sharing network.
Participants say or shout “put ‘em in a coffin” before jumping – with arms crossed over the chests – backwards onto car hoods (sometimes occupied by angry motorists) or grocery and convenience store displays, fast food counters, bushes, schoolroom tables, you name it. Any fallback move qualifies.
It’s sort of a vandals’ version of the ice-bucket challenge, although no one is raising any money for a good cause. (Body shops and ER’s are probably banking a bit, though.) There’s also a bit of that menacing lawless vibe we saw in the so-called “knockout game.”
WTKR television news in Norfolk reported on two apparent incidents this week and last with coffin jumpers attacking cars stopped in traffic.
Reportedly, there are more than 500 videos of the move.
VonMar – real name Delvon Lamar – was recently arrested for vandalism and felony theft for a video-captured New Year’s stunt inside of a Chicago 7-Eleven.
“You wanted to be famous,” Chicago judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. said when he socked VonMar with a $250,000 bond.
That news raced across social media on January 10, the same day as the hood-jumping incidents in Henrico County.
A Henrico police spokesman said there have been no arrests in the case. The young people had been chased off before police arrived.
It’s unclear if there is video surveillance footage that covers that portion of the parking lot.
Hook said restaurant patrons yelled at the teens, who yelled back before taking off. One female customer he saw was heartbroken over the large dent in her car, he said.
“I had no earthly idea what they were doing,” Hook said. But once he checked out some “put ‘em in a coffin” videos on social media, he said it matched right up – infuriatingly.
“I work in the car business,” he said. “So little bits of damage bug me. To see somebody purposefully damage someone else’s car . . . that’s really stupid.”