Predators Using Shirts on Windshields as Bait-Unproven!
Summary of eRumor:
A widely shared Facebook post warns that carjackers or sexual predators could throw a shirt on the windshields of their victims’ cars as bait.
Like previous warnings about predators placing “bait” like cash or fliers on their victims’ windshields, warnings about predators throwing a discarded shirt on the windshield of their victims cars are unproven.
A woman from Flint, Michigan, posted a widely shared warning on Facebook on February 17, 2017, that a predator might have tried to a shirt on the windshield of her car as bait to abduct her or to steal her car from a dark mall parking lot. The woman explains:
As some of you know I work at a store in the Mall out in flint. I worked a closing shift tonight so me and the girls I work with always walk out together to make sure we are safe in the parking lot. I got to my car and locked the doors behind me immediately as I always do and noticed that there was a blue flannel shirt on my windshield. There were two cars near me and one was running so I immediately felt uneasy and knew I couldn’t get out to get it off. At first I thought maybe someone had just thrown it on my car for some odd reason. I used my windshield wipers to try to get them off but the shirt was completely wrapped around my wiper blade. I had seen posts lately about people finding things under their windshield wipers in the burton/Flint area as an attempt to get girls out of their cars and distracted. Luckily I knew better than to remove the shirt with cars around me so I drove over to a place where I was safe and quickly rolled down my window and got the shirt off. I don’t know why the shirt was on my car but it had to have been intentional the way it was put on there. I really can’t think of another reason as to why someone would put it on my car. Tomorrow I am informing security of the situation and making them walk me to my car from now on. It definitely frightened me a little bit ? I’m so glad my parents had informed me that it was happening in our area, I just never thought it would potentially happen to my car.
Even though the woman made clear in her Facebook post that she wasn’t certain exactly why the shirt was on her windshield, the idea that it was placed there as bait by a carjacker or predator quickly went viral as the post was shared hundreds of thousands of times. ABC 12 in Flint reported that police said placing shirts on windshields is not a common practice — but that people should always stay vigilant to potential threats:
Flint Township Police Detective Sergeant Brad Wangler said he contacted (the woman) after he saw her post on social media. The local police department is now investigating the incident along with mall security, searching surveillance footage to hopefully find the person responsbile.
But he assures residents that it’s not a common practice, at least not in the Flint area, and is no cause for panic.
“Nothing like this has ever happened before,” Wangler told CBS News. “There have been no other incidences like this. It’s kind of unknown as to what or why or who [did this].”
In the future, if residents see something unusual, Wangler recommends they call 911 right away. The sooner police are notified, the better, he said.
When it comes to finding unusual items on your windshield, Wangler said residents should be “vigilant.”
“If something doesn’t seem right, or the hairs on the back of your neck stand up,” Wangler said. “But by all means, we need to know about this stuff when it happened.”
And if warnings about shirts on windshields sound familiar, it’s probably because many similar warnings have surfaced in the past. We’ve previously investigated warnings about carjackers placing $100 bills on windshields as bait (not proven), and that carjackers were placing pieces of paper in the rear windows of cars as bait.
Each time, law enforcement is unable to confirm any instances of crooks using these tactics but urge the public to be vigilant to potential threats. The shirt on windshield claim appears to be yet another one of these unproven warnings.