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Men arrested for “All Your Base” prank

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STURGIS (NEWS 3) - An April Fools joke has seven young men in Sturgis explaining a punchline that the police say was no laughing matter. They put up signs that read "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US, YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME."

It's a phrase, interpreted, that comes from a 1989 Japanese video game. It grew into an Internet cult with many web sites and even a music video devoted to it.

The young men, ranging in ages from 17 to 20, found it and thought it was funny. The video shows the words "ALL YOUR BASE" on everything, including businesses. They explain they were just doing the same thing hoping to get a laugh out of people when they saw the phrase everywhere.

"We thought it was funny. I thought everybody else would think it was funny too," explains J. P. Wolf, one of the men who taped up the signs.

"It wasn't meant to be anything harmful," adds friend Kyle Woodward. "It was just a joke. We wanted to make people laugh and that was it. We didn't have any clue it was going to come out something like this."

Several residents were offended by the signs, which had yellow ribbons drawn on the bottom of them. At least 10 soldiers fighting in the war are from Sturgis. The men say that was "poor judgment" and meant no offense to military families.

Sturgis Police Chief Eugene Alli says the signs could be, "a borderline terrorist threat depending on what someone interprets it to mean. We didn't take it as a joke and neither did the dozens of people who received this because we had calls from a number of them who didn't really know what to do. Did they need more security? Should they operate their businesses? What did it mean?"

He says one woman called her manager to open the store because she wasn't sure what the note meant.

And while Sturgis Hospital security suspected it wasn't a threat, they have to take every incident seriously. Security found the note and called the CEO. Together, they checked the whole building, doors and security cameras to make sure the place was secure. A note was also sent out to staff.

The seven arrested face charges of disorderly conduct - and they aren't laughing anymore, either. "We are very sorry," says Wolf. "We didn't mean it this way. We're sorry the whole public thought it this way."

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