VENICE (CBS) — Four guys carried out the ultimate practical joke on a Southern California beach last weekend and it was all caught on a video that’s been burning up the internet.

The pranksters visited Venice beach, dug a hole in the sand and buried a phony treasure chest, filled with $100 worth of chocolate shaped to look like gold coins.

buried treasure hoax 2 Video Depicting Buried Treasure Prank At Venice Beach Goes Viral

(credit: CBS)

At one point, they thought their plot had been uncovered when a roving police helicopter focused its lights on them.

“The helicopter flies by and shines a spotlight on us like we were doing something sketchy and so that really scared us,” said one of the pranksters, Johnny Murdock.

The police eventually lost interest and flew away.

buried treasure hoax Video Depicting Buried Treasure Prank At Venice Beach Goes Viral

(credit: CBS)

The next day the four aspiring actors from Utah came back to the beach to showcase their acting skills. They walked around Venice Beach pretending to search the sand for something valuable with a broken metal detector.

When they reached the spot where they had buried the chest they pretended their metal detector hit something big. They quickly started digging and a crowd of curious onlookers gathered around the growing pile of sand.

“A lot of people they were getting closer like slowly trying to nudge their way in to have a good shot at grabbing something,” Murdock said.

Suddenly, the treasure chest appeared and the crowd burst out chanting, “Open it! Open it!”

buried treasure hoax 3 Video Depicting Buried Treasure Prank At Venice Beach Goes Viral

(credit: CBS)

All the uproar caught the attention of a nearby lifeguard who tried to get the crowd to disperse. As soon as she walked away to get back-up the guys quickly opened the chest and the gold coins caused instant pandemonium on the beach.

The crowd clamored at the coins and it didn’t take long for people to realize the coins were fake and they’d been had.

But, the pranksters said everyone took the joke in stride.

Now, the aspiring actors are basking in the glow of overnight internet fame. The video was posted to YouTube and has already received a half-million views since it was posted 24 hours ago.

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