Dial *677 - Rapist Impersonates Police Officer (Ontario)
Female college student pulled over in her car by a cop-impersonating would-be rapist is rescued by a real officer after dialing *677 on her cell phone (Ontario, Canada version)
Description: Urban legend
Circulating since: July 2004 (this version)
Status: Grain of truth
Email example contributed by A. Mann, July 22, 2004:
Subject: Fw: Good advice and the importance of *677
I knew about the red light on cars, but not the *677.
It was about 1 PM in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren's parents have 4 children (high school and college age) and have always told them never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather wait until they get a gas station, etc. Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called *677 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away.
She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her.
The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren't, and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back up already on the way.
Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes. I never knew about the *677 Cell Phone Feature, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a "safe" place. You obviously need to make some signals that you acknowledge them (i.e. put on your hazard lights) or call *677 like Lauren did.
Too bad the cell phone companies don't generally give you this little bit of wonderful information.
*Speaking to a service representative at **Bell** Mobility confirmed that *677 was a direct link to OPP Dispatch.
So, now it's your turn to let your friends know about *677.
Send this to every woman you know, it may save a life.
Analysis: What you have just read is an Ontario, Canada variant of an urban legend circulating via email since March 2002. While it's true that the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) can be reached by dialing *677 (numerical equivalent of *OPP) on any phone in the province, the rest of the story (a college student named Lauren narrowly avoids becoming the victim of a rapist impersonating a police officer by calling the real police, etc., etc.) was cut and pasted from the original three-year-old message. The tale has never been substantiated.
That said, there have been cases in Ontario and elsewhere of criminals impersonating police officers, so caution may be warranted for drivers pulled over in isolated areas. "What I suggest is that you pull over as soon as it is safe but keep your doors locked and windows rolled up until you are satisfied the officer has properly identified themselves," said a police sergeant interviewed by YorkRegion.com.
A spokesperson for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association said Ontario drivers can reach police in an emergency by dialing either *677 or 911.
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Sources and further reading:
Suspicious? Don't Call *677
YorkRegion.com, 12 August 2004
Cell Phone Users Can Contact OPP via *677
Community Press, 4 August 2004
Dial #77 - Rapist Impersonates Policeman (U.S. Version)
Urban Legends, 22 April 2002
Last updated: 08/16/04