01/08/10 — Wallace: Duplin gang initiation rumor false

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Wallace: Duplin gang initiation rumor false

By Nelson Bland
Published in News on January 8, 2010 1:46 PM

KENANSVILLE -- A rumor that a baby's car seat and other items are being left on roadsides to attract unsuspecting victims for a gang initiation in Duplin County is just that -- a widespread rumor, according to Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace.

But people are concerned and have asked law enforcement officials about the rumor, he said.

"I had a call the other night at 10:30 at home from a citizen about it," Wallace said.

He said the rumor is similar to one several years ago that gang members would flick their bright headlights to get someone to stop, and then supposedly rob, rape or otherwise harm them for a gang initiation.

"We have had several calls in the last few days about an e-mail that is circulating on the Internet involving a gang initiation," Wallace said. "It says if you are driving down the road and see clothing, a baby's car seat or something like that, and you stop to help, gang members will attack you."

He said people "have really got worked up" about the fast-spreading rumor.

"We have done some research and this appears to be a hoax; there is no indication that any of this is true," Wallace said.

While the sheriff's office has received calls from concerned citizens about the rumor, there have been no calls from anyone "who has actually seen anything like this," Wallace said.

"There is absolutely no indication any of this is true," he said. "We have talked to other jurisdictions and they have not reported anything similar to the rumors, so we just want to put the public at rest."

Wallace added, "But at any time in this day and age you see something that appears to be suspicious, rather than risk your own personal safety, call 911 and have an officer to come out and check it."