Police Warning about Gang Members Hiding in the Back Seats of Cars to Kidnap Women-Mostly Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

A warning is being issued by police in major cities about gang members who are kidnapping women to rape or kill.  It’s part of a gang initiation ritual and the gang members are hiding in the back seats of women’s cars.  The story came to light when a gas station attendant spotted a man in the rear seat of a car, warned the woman and called police.

The Truth:

No such threat has been documented and for most of the time this eRumor has circulated, there has never been any substantiation of any law enforcement agency issuing such a warning or even reporting such a story involving gangs or initiations.

In September, 2007, however, police in Decatur, Alabama, said they had a report of an event that was similar.  According to the Decatur Daily News, a 23-year-old woman said that she ended up with a would-be kidnapper in the back seat of her SUV.  She said that she had just completed an evening college class and was talking on the phone while driving away from the campus.  A man sat up in the back seat and said he wanted her to take him somewhere.  As he started climbing over the seat into the front of the SUV, she slammed on her brakes, put the car in park, and got out.  The man grabbed a pack of cigarettes, got out of the car, and walked away.  The driver said he appeared to have had a gun.  She said she had locked her car while attending the college class and theorized that the man had actually gotten into her car when she stopped at a grocery store earlier in the evening.

One of our staff members here at TruthOrFiction.com remembers dealing with this story in Los Angeles in the early 1970’s.  It’s gone through various versions, but always includes a menacing man in the back seat spotted by an alert gas station attendant.  Some stories say it’s a gang member who is going to kidnap and rape the woman.  Others say it’s a serial killer.  Others say the gang members are supposed to kill the woman and take one body part or another as a part of an initiation.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

First version:


A friend stopped at a pay-at-the-pump gas station to get gas. Once she
filled her gas tank after paying at the pump and started to leave the
attendant inside came over the speaker. He told her that something
happened with her card and that she needed to come inside to pay.
The lady was confused because the transaction showed complete and approved.
She told him that and was getting ready to leave but the attendant once
again urged her to come in to pay or else.
She proceeded to go inside and started arguing with the attendant about his
He told her to calm down and listen carefully. He told her that while she
was pumping gas, a guy slipped into the back seat of her car on the other
side and he had called the police. She immediately became scared and looked
out there in time to see her car door open and the guy slip out.
The report is that the new gang initiation thing is to bring back a woman’s
body part. One way they are doing this is crawling under girls/women’s
cars while they’re pumping gas or at grocery stores in the night time.
Then they are cutting the lady’s ankles to disable them in order to kidnap
them, kill and dismember them. The other way is slipping into unattended
cars and kidnapping the women to kill and dismember them.
Please pass this on to other women, young and old alike. Be extra careful
going to and from your car at night. If at all possible, don’t go
This is real!!
The message
1. ALWAYS lock your car doors, even if you’re gone for just a second.
2. Check underneath your car when approaching it for reentry, and check in
the back before getting in.
3. Always be aware of your surroundings and other individuals in your
general vicinity, particularly at night!
Send this to many girls so your friend will not be the next one.

Second version:

PLEASE read this. It is similar to a gas station incident that was forwarded a few months ago, but this just happened.
Today I received the following email from Lisa Burroughs. It was not forwarded by Lisa. It was written by her. Please read and pass it on.

This is pretty scary – warn all your sisters, mom’s, girlfriends, wives, and daughters!!! It could happen to any of us and a lot of us have structured parking lots and convenient gas stations so….. This is definitely one to forward.
Pathetic that we have to lock our cars to go in to pay for gas, but you can bet that I will and so should you! Look into your car before you get in… This actually happened to my friend’s niece last week right here near downtown Huntington Beach. It was after dark and she stopped to get gas at a Quik Trip. She filled her tank and walked into the store to pay for her gas. The cashier told her “don’t pay for your gas yet… walk around the store a while and act as if you’re picking up some other things to buy. A man just got into the back of your car. I’ve called the police and they’re on their way.” When the police arrived, they found the man in the back seat of the girl’s car and asked him what he was doing. He replied, he was joining a gang and the initiation to join is to kidnap a woman and bring her back to the gang to be raped. According to the police that night, there is a new gang forming here originating from Chicago. Part of the scary part of this is because the guy didn’t have a weapon on him the police could only charge him with trespassing… he’s back on the streets and free to try again.
Please be aware of what’s going on around you, ladies. This could happen to any one. Please forward this on to anyone you care about!