Targeted prank: ‘Coming soon’ sign for Target in Iowa city was hoax

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — A central Iowa city was the target of quite a prank.

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Residents in Marshalltown were greeted with a sign touting a new Target store, KCCI-TV reported. While the retail giant’s name was not on the “Coming Soon!” sign, its distinctive logo led citizens to believe that Target was coming to town at the site that once housed the UnityPoint Health facility.

It was, however, a hoax.

“For a Target to pop up right here on 3rd Avenue would be a little ‘woohoo,’” Julie Johnson, who works across the street, told the television station. “Nah, not going to happen.”

“We were pranked last night,” UnityPoint Health wrote in a Facebook post. “Sorry, folks, there’s no truth to this … but the property is still for sale (if you’re listening, Target).”

“We can confirm that is not a future site of a Target store at this time,” the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “We are in continual contact with national retailers such as Target and others to see if our community is a good fit for their expansion plans.

“In this case, it was merely a hoax and the sign has been taken down.”

It is unclear who placed the sign in front of the property.

The nearest Target outlet from Marshalltown is 36 miles away in Ames, KCCI reported.

Marshalltown police Chief Mike Tupper said there will be no criminal investigation into the incident, the Times-Republican of Marshalltown reported. However, the chief said he was “as disappointed as everyone else” to learn it was a hoax.

Although UnityPoint Health laughed off the incident as “a light-hearted prank,” some residents were not laughing.

“You’re not very nice,” Rochelle Thomas said to KCCI, directing her ire at the prankster. “You wasted a lot of people’s time and dreams.”