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Teens are having secret sleepovers at Ikea — and the company isn't happy about it

Large retailers like Ikea and Walmart are warning against teens sneaking in to spend the night in stores after a series of viral videos.
/ Source: TODAY

Large retailers like Ikea and Walmart are pushing back against a troubling trend among teens known as the "sleepover challenge."

Kids have been hiding out overnight in popular stores, sneaking in just before closing time and avoiding security to spend the night while filming it all and posting it online.

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A pair of Belgian teenagers, Florian Van Hecke and Bram Geirnaert, jumpstarted the trend in July when they hid in a closet at their local Ikea until closing.

They spent the night wandering the store, jumping on beds and walking around for a video they called "Two Idiots at Night in Ikea" that has been viewed more than 2 million times.

"It began a little bit as a joke,'' Van Hecke, 19, told Miguel Almaguer on TODAY Friday. "We came up with the idea to film it and to put it on the internet. It blew up like crazy."

It also inspired copycats, like British YouTube stars Carnage and LordOmar, who filmed their own night in an Ikea, which included a run-in with a store employee threatening to call the police. Sneaking in overnight can result in trespassing charges and potential jail time.

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"The safety and security of our co-workers and customers is our highest priority and that's why we do not allow sleepovers in our stores,'' Ikea said in a statement to NBC News.

Others have spent the night in a Walmart and gotten chased by security.

"We do not condone any activity inside our stores that could result in vandalism, destruction of property or physical injury, and we'll take appropriate action if necessary,'' Walmart said in a statement to NBC News.

Van Hecke and Geirnaert did not hear from Ikea after posting their video and don't plan on doing any more sleepovers. There is some worry they have started a trend that could result in other kids getting in legal trouble.

"Um, maybe a bit,'' Van Hecke said. "Be free, but also be responsible. I guess you have to think about it twice before you do it."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.