Modesto police took to Facebook on Monday morning to shut down a false story spreading on social media of an attempted abduction of a teenage girl from Vintage Faire Mall.
"These rumors are not credible and no reports have been filed," the Police Department posted on its Facebook page.
The post notes that the current story — Mom takes 5-year-old to restroom while teen daughter waits outside. Comes out to find drugged daughter being carried away by two men and a woman — is nearly identical to one in August. At that time, the story was a child went to the restroom on her own and passed out, apparently drugged. Then someone tried to take her.
Police suggested after those August rumors that residents double-check their sources before passing on reports of this nature. “We understand and appreciate that social media is a powerful tool to get information out to the community to alert them about what is happening around them,” the post said. “Unfortunately sometimes the information that’s shared is false or may not tell the whole story."
This time, the MPD post read, "Please be leery about forwarding or re-posting rumored information. Remember, you can always contact us if you have questions about what's happening in Modesto."
A comment on the Patterson Neighborhood Watch Uncensored page on Facebook was more blunt when the false story was posted there: "Check things out for yourself before you post crap like this."
In dispelling the rumor, police also took the opportunity to remind people of simple precautions to avoid being victimized. Among them:
- Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
- Stay in well-lighted areas.
- Move confidently and at a steady pace.
- Have your keys in hand so you don't have to linger before entering your vehicle..
- Lock your doors after getting in.