Hollywood, MD – Recently, a friend who frequently sends out mass emails warning of the dire political problems she feels our nation is mired in sent out one I couldn’t quickly delete. It was billed as a message from the Office of the Attorney General of Michigan. It warned about dangers unsuspecting motorists could encounter when traveling on desolate rural roads.

The missive states “gangs and thieves are now plotting different ways to get a person (mostly women) to stop their vehicle and get out of the car.” It seems one of the plays these “gangs and thieves” are using is to place an infant car seat by the road with a fake baby in it. If the motorist stops to check on the fake baby, the thieves then jump out of the bushes and drag the would be Samaritan into the woods. The victim is then beaten, raped, robbed and left for dead.

Another tactic involves the perpetrators tossing eggs at the windshield of a moving vehicle. When the driver attempts to wash and wipe away the egg splatter, the motorist’ loses visibility of the road and has to stop. That puts him or her in the clutches of the gang.

Our first move after reading this was an attempt to verify that the Michigan Attorney General’s Office did in fact, issue this warning. When verification attempts failed to yield information we googled “infant car seat on the side of the road.” Right away there are links to pages telling the reader the whole thing is a hoax.

The same missive was attributed to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD). That agency reported to a website called TruthOrFiction.com that they launched an investigation into the hoax. It was learned that a similar warning was attributed to the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

An LASD spokesperson told TruthOrFiction “it is always best not to pull over immediately. He added that drivers should always be aware of their surroundings when they pull over and exit their cars.” Police do suggest that drivers “should try to locate a local police station or well-lit filling station to examine their cars for damages.” Another precaution to take is not to put water in your motor vehicle’s windshield washer tank.

Whenever you are traveling by motor vehicle, it’s wise always to carry a fully charged cell phone. If you encounter a situation such as the scenarios described, be prepared to call 911 or 112. The latter number will connect you to emergency services.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com