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Cheescake Factory hoax turns out to be the perfect prank

Fake sign gets New Mexico residents hungry for the Cheesecake Factor. Courtesy Photo.

For about 24 hours, a bunch of people in Las Cruces thought they were getting a Cheesecake Factory. Instead, they got a 24-hour emergency room.

“I was disappointed,” said Las Cruces resident Dominique Carrillo. "I really thought we were going to have the Cheesecake Factory here."

The story begins in the early morning hours of June 1. That’s when someone hung a professionally printed sign on a fence surrounding a construction site at 2811 N. Main Street. The sign read: “The Cheesecake Factory Fall 2017.”

Pictures of the sign were then posted on Facebook and quickly went viral. However, the excitement was short-lived. A day later, the Las Cruces Sun News reported the sign was a fake. What was momentarily thought to be a Cheesecake Factory will instead be a standalone emergency room for MountainView Regional Medical Center.

CBS4 has since learned the identities of the pair who pulled off the prank. We sat down with them for a tongue-in-cheek interview. Their identities were disguised by sunglasses and a pair of (fake) Cheesecake Factory menus held in front of their faces.

“We just pulled some connections,” said the person we’re identifying as Prankster No. 2. “I wanted to do it as legit as possible.”

"The sign was real,” added Prankster No. 1. “It's a real sign."

Prankster No. 2 admits he was supposed to hang the sign during Memorial Day weekend, but forgot. So he slipped out around 1:30 a.m. June 1. Hours later, the whole town was talking.

"I thought it was pretty hilarious, to be honest," said Las Cruces resident Brian Hamilton.

The pair says the feedback, for the most part, has been positive. But they were surprised to see some people angered by the prank.

"Some people don't know how to take a joke,” said Prankster No. 2. “That was surprising. It's all lighthearted. The whole time, I mean just following Facebook feeds and seeing the comments and following the whole thing was an emotional adventure."

While some didn’t like the joke, others called it the greatest prank ever.

"Those people could be my friends,” said Prankster No. 1. “Let's go and have a beer."

Cheers (and cheesecake) to all.

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