After a four-day frenzy of reactions to reported sightings and photographs of a large, unidentified creature living in Spring Lake, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department announced this afternoon that it was all a well-planned and meticulously orchestrated hoax, and that a 13-year-old Grand Haven boy has been arrested in connection with the incident. When the Grand Haven Tribune first published eyewitness accounts and photos of the so-called “Spring Loch Monster”, the story triggered a public outcry ranging from skepticism to curiosity to outright panic. Residents and travelers through the West Michigan area have suffered massive delays and traffic snarls, as the mass-evacuation by Spring Lake residents, combined with a huge influx of curious tourists, boaters and reporters, created a three-day traffic jam on all roads leading to and from the Village of Spring Lake.
Local authorities hope today’s announcement, including arrest of the perpetrator, will restore peace and quiet to the normally peaceful and quiet Village. During today’s press conference at the Ottawa County Courthouse, which included a very generous assortment of donuts and pastries for assembled journalists and photographers, Sheriff’s Deputy Bernard VanderFifen described how the young perpetrator was captured in a dawn raid by himself and seven other Deputies. As a minor, the hoaxer’s name and address is being withheld by Authorities, but VanderFifen displayed some of the items confiscated as evidence from the boy’s backyard treehouse, including several remote-operated-submersibles and painted styrofoam carvings matching exactly the ‘Spring Loch Monster’ in photographs which triggered the recent hysteria.
Deputy VanderFifen’s Rapid Insertion Team also recovered a box of twenty-four unopened bottles of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, leading them to suspect the alleged perpetrator was not acting alone, and may be a member of the notorious local middle-school gang known as The Croutonix. Known primarily for their brand of ranch-flavored vandalism, local Investigators fear The Croutonix may be branching out into more complex and sophisticated forms of malicious mischief. VanderFifen believes this one treehouse may only be a sleeper-cell within the wider and more dispersed Croutonix network. “The boy’s parents had no idea their treehouse was headquarters to such a devious operation, until our raid woke them up this morning”, VanderFifen told reporters, “And that kind of secrecy is a hallmark of The Croutonix methodology.”
The unidentified 13-year-old alleged perpetrator is being held without bail until a scheduled Court appearance next Wednesday. While Investigators and Prosecutors determine the specific crimes they intend to charge the boy with, Deputy VanderFifen hopes that interrogation of the boy could lead to a break in Departmental efforts to shut down the entire Croutonix operation. Be sure to follow The Grand River Times for any breaking developments in this story.