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Shopping Mall Crime Victims Forced to Disrobe

Netlore Archive: Shopping mall thieves try a new gambit: robbing their female victims in the restroom then forcing them to undress while they make their getaway

Description: Email hoax / Urban legend
Circulating since: September 2002
Status: False


Variant #1:
Email example contributed by Christi H., 18 May 2005:

Subject: FW: Be Aware / Ladies Please Read !!!!! - Pay Attention!!!!

The Latest Scam: Robbing Females using the bathroom at a Shopping Mall

The way the scam works is, a man slips into a women's restroom and sneaks into a stall. He waits until there is only one woman in the restroom in a neighboring stall. The criminal then stands on the toilet and points a hand gun into the next stall, demanding the woman's valuables. After getting her cash and jewelry, he demands that she remove all of her clothing and kick them out of the stall. The thief tosses the clothing into a shopping bag, hangs an out of order sign on the restroom door, and slips back into the mall. The out of order sign ensures no one will soon come to the woman's rescue. It usually takes an hour or two for the woman to work up the nerve to leave the restroom in the nude, giving the criminal ample time to make his get away. The woman is left naked and humiliated in a mall full of strangers. The best defense, say police, is to never go into a shopping mall restroom alone, as only women who are by themselves are targeted.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. This has so far been a nearly perfect crime, as none of the perpetrators have been caught. Don't let this happen to another woman.


Variant #2:
Email example contributed by MSN user, 18 September 2002:

Subject: New Mall Crime

From the AP news wire.

Don't be surprised to see a naked woman walking out of a shopping mall restroom: The latest scam being perpetrated in our nations shopping malls is not the cost of gourmet ice cream cones or Harry Potter collectible figurines. With what is being called amazing regularity, victims of this new crime wave have been found walking out of shopping mall restrooms completely naked. This has almost always been done by men to women, with a few exceptions. The way the scam works is, a man slips into a women's restroom and sneaks into a stall. He waits until there is only one woman in the restroom in a neighboring stall. The criminal then stands on the toilet and points a hand gun into the next stall, demanding the woman's valuables. After getting her cash and jewelry, he demands that she remove all of her clothing and kick them out of the stall. The thief tosses the clothing into a shopping bag, hangs an out of order sign on the restroom door, and slips back into the mall. The out of order sign ensures no one will soon come to the woman's rescue. It usually takes an hour or two for the woman to work up the nerve to leave the restroom in the nude, giving the criminal ample time to make his get away. The woman is left naked and humiliated in a mall full of strangers.

The best defense, say police, is to never go into a shopping mall restroom alone, as only women who are by themselves are targeted.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. This has so far been a nearly perfect crime, as none of the perpetrators have been caught. Don't let this happen to another woman.


Comments: "From the AP news wire" this is not. The text offers no specifics, quotes no sources, cites no authorities. This isn't just bad journalism; it isn't journalism at all.

Even so, I dutifully searched for any sign that it ever appeared in newsprint and found nothing remotely resembling such a report. For a type of crime that's supposedly happening with such "amazing regularity," these forced disrobings in shopping mall restrooms are getting remarkably little media coverage. None at all, as a matter of fact.

Could such a crime take place? Sure, and maybe it has. But it bears pointing out that shopping mall restrooms tend to be rather busy places. The dim bulb of a criminal who actually tried to pull this off would be relying on pure luck to get the deed done before more customers walked in the door and caught him red-handed.

I've labeled this story a hoax instead of an urban legend because its author appears to have simply made it up, as opposed to having heard it through the grapevine and passing it along. However, it does share elements in common with familiar urban legends such as "The Attempted Abduction" and "The Knife in the Briefcase," both of which are cautionary tales about women and/or children being victimized at shopping malls.


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More shopping mall horrors:

The Knife in the Briefcase
"Good samaritan" in a shopping mall parking lot proves to be anything but...

Another Close Call at the Mall
Email variant of "The Knife in the Briefcase"

The Attempted Abduction
Perpetrator is foiled in the act of kidnapping a child from a public restroom


Last updated: 06/09/05


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