Police have released footage of a group of young men performing the mannequin challenge before and after two robberies occurred in Salford in the hope of solving the crimes.
The video, released by Greater Manchester Police on Tuesday, shows four men pretending to be frozen in action while standing on the road, while a number of others watch from a car.
The craze swept the internet last year with videos being uploaded online from across the world of people performing the stunt at workplaces and sports and social clubs.
The video, captured on a phone taken from a man police arrested, was released after the 22-year-old was bailed in November than failed to turn up to his next court date.
The robberies both occurred on November 14, police said, with the first involving a man being attacked on Fredrick Road by two men, while a further two watched on from near the Salford Innovation Forum, at around 11.55pm.
Police said the victim saw the men get out of a blue Ford Focus prior to the attack and get back into it after stealing his gold-coloured iPhone 5s and demanding its password.
Around five minutes later, another man was sat at a bus stop on Eccles Old Road, when he was approached by three men, police said.
The trio dragged the man on to the floor then stole his Samsung S7 Edge phone. Again, police said, the men demanded the victim’s password before fleeing the scene in a blue Ford Focus.
Investigations later revealed the vehicle had been involved in eleven drive-offs from petrol station forecourts across the Greater Manchester area.
The vehicle was later stopped in Manchester City Centre and the driver, Roger Boison, was arrested.
The Samsung phone was found in the car along with a number of other mobile phones and debit cards, police said.
The cards had been reported as stolen.
“An examination of one of the phones revealed footage of two mannequin challenges that happened before and after the robberies took place, “ police said in the statement.
Boison was bailed until December 13 pending further inquiries, but police said he failed to turn up and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Detective Constable Allan Barker of GMP’s Salford Borough, said: “These two robberies happened in such quick succession that there was no regard for the safety of the victims who were left shaken, upset and terrified.”
Barker said police have so far not been able to identify “those responsible” for the robberies “so it is imperative that we speak to the group of people in the footage to be able to move forward with the investigation.”
He said Boison is “actively evading police arrest” and may be in London or the surrounding areas.
Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 5361 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.