Dad Accused of Trying to Literally Pawn His Baby Claims it Was a 'Social Media Joke'

Brian Slocum is seen talking to the pawn store owner while his baby sits on the counter.
Sarasota Police Department

When you own a pawn shop, it's inevitable that people will attempt to sell you a lot of random and unexpected stuff. But those are usually things such as rare coins or weird ashtrays shaped like the Mona Lisa -- not babies. But that's exactly what one pawn shop owner in Sarasota, Florida, says a customer recently offered him. (Yes, really.) The owner was so disturbed, he immediately called the authorities.

  • The incident reportedly went down around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday evening at A&F Pawn Jewelry and Loan.

    Surveillance footage shows 43-year-old Brian Slocum entering the pawn shop and walking up to the counter, where he's greeted by store owner Richard Jordan. A clip from the footage was later shared on the Sarasota Police Department's official Facebook page, where local authorities have been giving updates as new details emerge.

    "Detectives followed several leads to identify Mr. Slocum with a primary goal to determine the safety of the child," the caption reads, adding that it was not initially known whether the man featured in the video was in fact the child's father.

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  • Soon after the video was released, Slocum reportedly called the police department himself and -- get this -- claimed it was all a joke for Snapchat.

    “Mr. Slocum claims that his encounter with the store clerk was a prank and that he wanted to place his own video on social media,” the police department shared. 

    After a detective independently verified the child was safe, no charges were filed. But man, this story is still all kinds of nuts.

  • For starters, is this really what the world is coming to, that we're so desperate for social media content, we throw all reason out the window?

    It would certainly seem so, if you consider some recent stories that have made headlines of parents who went to great lengths for likes and views.

    Just consider the Instagram-famous parents who lied and told their daughter they were giving away her puppy on April Fool's Day this year in an effort to get more views. Or the mom accused of child abuse after her children refused to participate in her money-making YouTube videos. 

    And let's not forget the story of Danielle Cohn and Mikey Tua, two teenage YouTubers accused of faking their Vegas wedding and their pregnancy.

  • And even if it all was supposed to be a harmless joke, can someone tell me how it's funny?

    That part seems to be lost on a lot of people on Facebook too, who chimed in with their disapproval in the comments section.

    "This is so disturbing," wrote one user.

    "This man doesn’t deserve this child and the mother should get very far away from him!" wrote another. "No sane person does this even if he said it was a joke!! Not buying!!"

    At least one user suggested the pawn shop owner should have actually purchased the baby, just to get it away from its dad.

    "He should have taken the baby and just paid him whatever he was asking for then call the cops," the user wrote.

  • For now, authorities believe that the baby is being safely cared for, which is at least some consolation. 

    Still, the Florida Department of Child and Family Services has been notified, and an investigation is ongoing. Here's hoping the baby is in fact safe at home -- and his dad thinks twice before making any off-color Snapchat videos in the future. (At least ones involving selling his own child.)