Westlake dad’s stranger danger test doesn’t work, admits it was poorly planned

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WESTLAKE, Ohio - A father wanted to teach his kids a lesson, but police say his plan went terribly wrong.

Friday, he spoke to Fox 8 about his parental test that scared his sons into jumping out of a window, running to a neighbor and calling 911.

"It was a lesson that I was trying to teach, that went bad," said Bilal Abdul Mani.

A terrified 16-year old Westlake boy called 911 around 4:00 p.m. Thursday, saying a man was threatening him and his 14-year old brother at their home on Pineview Drive.

CALLER: "He started screaming, saying that 'you need to contact your father...he owes me 1500 dollars…he's like if I start chopping up bodies in here, then I'm gonna be the bad guy, I just got outta jail two weeks ago."

"Knowing that they reacted the way they reacted, no, I would have did it another way," said Abdul Mani.

The boys did not know that they were being tested by their father. He asked a friend to knock on the door and see if his sons would obey a rule to never let anyone, other than four close relatives, inside the house when he's not home. The 14-year old let the friend inside.

"I wanted to make sure that they did the right thing when I'm not at home. Me being a single parent, I need them to do the right thing," said the father.

Police say, feeling threatened, the boys ran upstairs, locked themselves into a room, climbed out of a window onto the garage roof, then jumped down and ran to a neighbor's house to call police.

DISPATCHER: "Is he still there?”
CALLER: “I have no idea, me and my brother went upstairs and we jumped out. I ripped the screen open that was in the spare bedroom and me and my brother jumped onto the roof and ran 'cause this guy was crazy, this guy wanted to kill us."

"It was poorly cast, it was badly planned and the execution was worse," said Westlake police Captain Guy Turner.

Westlake police say officers raced to the scene, then learned no one was actually in danger. They referred the case to the city prosecutor, who could file child endangering charges against the father and the friend.

"We tried to explain to him the dangers of what he just put his kids through, and he wasn't hearing it. He referred to what happened, what his sons did, was an epic fail," said Capt. Turner.

"It amazes me that parents that sometimes when they try to do the right thing they're the one that gets penalized," said Abdul Mani.

According to police, the friend wanted to stop the role play when it was obvious the boys were scared, but the father wanted him to continue.

Abdul Mani says he thought his youngest son saw his car parked outside and thought he knew it was a setup.

The father says he came in a back door and listened to the ordeal in the basement, but by the time he could run upstairs, his sons had already run to the second floor and escaped from the house.

Police commend the boys for how they got away and escaped to safety.