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Crime Alert: Eggs on Windshield / Fake Baby in Car Seat

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Abandoned old child car seat on beach
Sami Sarkis/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Viral alert warns of two new techniques allegedly used by criminals to trick drivers into stopping their vehicles: throwing raw eggs at windshields and leaving infant car seats with fake babies in them beside the road.

Description: Viral alert / Forwarded email
Circulating since: Nov. 2009
Status: False (see details below)


2012 example:
As posted on Facebook, Sep. 16, 2012:

A MESSAGE FROM THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL STATE OF MICHIGAN:

SITUATION... While driving on a rural end of the roadway on Thursday morning, I saw an infant car seat on the side of the road with a blanket draped over it. For whatever reason, I did not stop, even though I had all kinds of thoughts running through my head. But when I got to my destination, I called the Canton PD and they were going to check it out. But, this is what the Police advised even before they went out there to check....

"There are several things to be aware of ... gangs and thieves are now plotting different ways to get a person (mostly women) to stop their vehicle and get out of the car.

"There is a gang initiation reported by the local Police Department where gangs are placing a car seat by the road... with a fake baby in it.... waiting for a woman, of course, to stop and check on the abandoned baby. "Note that the location of this car seat is usually beside a wooded or grassy (field) area and the person -- woman -- will be dragged into the woods, beaten and raped, and usually left for dead. If it's a man, they're usually beaten and robbed and maybe left for dead, too.

DO NOT STOP FOR ANY REASON!!! DIAL 9-1-1 AND REPORT WHAT YOU SAW, BUT DON 'T EVEN SLOW DOWN.

"IF YOU ARE DRIVING AT NIGHT AND EGGS ARE THROWN AT YOUR WINDSHIELD, DO NOT STOP TO CHECK THE CAR, DO NOT OPERATE THE WIPER AND DO NOT SPRAY ANY WATER BECAUSE EGGS MIXED WITH WATER BECOME MILKY AND BLOCK YOUR VISION UP TO 92.5%, AND YOU ARE THEN FORCED TO STOP BESIDE THE ROAD AND BECOME A VICTIM OF THESE CRIMINALS.

THIS IS A NEW TECHNIQUE USED BY GANGS, SO PLEASE INFORM YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES.

THESE ARE DESPERATE TIMES AND THESE ARE UNSAVORY INDIVIDUALS WHO WILL TAKE DESPERATE MEASURES TO GET WHAT THEY WANT." Please talk to your loved ones about this. This is a new tactic used. Please be safe. Get started NOW -- SEND THIS MESSAGE TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES TO BE CAREFUL AND AWARE OF EVERYTHING AROUND THEM SO AS NOT TO BECOME A VICTIM.



2010 example:
Email contributed by Denise C., March 12, 2010:

New Warnings

FYI, passed along from personnel at the Paulding County Courthouse, in Georgia. Several things to be aware of this year... as gangs and robbers are now plotting different ways to get a person to "stop" their vehicle.

Please note:
There is a gang initiation reported by the local police department that gangs are placing a car seat by the road ... with a fake baby in it... waiting for a woman, of course, to stop and check on the baby. Note that the location of this car seat will usually be beside a wooded or grassy (field) area ...and the person - woman - will be dragged into the woods - beaten and raped - usually left for dead. DO NOT STOP. DIAL 9-1-1 AND INFORM THEM...

IF YOU ARE DRIVING AT NIGHT AND EGGS ARE THROWN AT YOUR WINDSHIELD. DO NOT OPERATE THE WIPER AND SPRAY ANY WATER BECAUSE EGGS MIXED WITH WATER BECOME MILKY AND BLOCK YOUR VISION UP TO 92.5% SO YOU ARE FORCED TO STOP BESIDE THE ROAD AND BECOME A VICTIM OF ROBBERS. THIS IS A NEW TECHNIQUE USED BY ROBBERS. PLEASE INFORM YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES.



2009 example:
Email contributed by Steven K., Nov. 18, 2009:

Fwd: NEW TRICK TO ROB YOU...

If you are driving at night and eggs are thrown at your windshield.

Do not operate the wiper and spray any water because eggs mixed with water become milky and block your vision up to 92.5% so you are forced to stop at the roadside and become a victim of robbers.

This is a new technique used by robbers.

Please inform your friends and relatives.



Analysis: These warnings originated as separate messages that were eventually combined into one. We don't know by whom. As you can see from the older examples above, the eggs-on-windshields alert first began circulating, with no mention of babies in car seats, in late 2009. A few months later it was merged with a separate alert (also circulating since 2009) claiming that wannabe gangsters are leaving infant car seats on roadsides to trick drivers into stopping as part of a "gang initiation" rite.

Both warnings were, and are, hoaxes. I've searched for police reports and news stories documenting the use of such tactics by criminals anywhere in the U.S. and found none. Moreover, law enforcement agencies across North America have issued statements dismissing these warnings as fictitious and urging citizens to ignore them (see examples below).

See also: 'National Gang Week' Crime Alert - Nov. 2009


Sources and further reading:

Urban Legends of Gang Initiations
Kansas City Police Chief's blog, 2 June 2010

SCPD: Reports of Gang Initiation Scenarios Fictitious
Huntington Patch (NY), 11 May 2010

Dubuque Police: Email Circulating Is NOT from Them
KCRG-TV News, 9 April 2010

Gang Plot Warnings Are Bogus, Police Say
Living Lake Country blog, 6 April 2010

Egg Smashing Robbery Warning Email Is a Hoax
Decatur Daily News, 18 December 2009

Last updated 10/10/13

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