The Internet is awash in messages warning us to be wary of dangerous criminals. Here we try to sort through them and separate fact from fiction, the real from the spurious.




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Fun-loving teens are lobbing lit gasoline-soaked rags into cars halted at red lights in a deadly game called spunkball.*


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A murderer using the name of “Slavemaster” is luring women to their deaths over the Internet.*


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Police have discovered guns disguised as cell phones.


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Thieves who work shopping malls are robbing women in washrooms and leaving them naked.


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College student who dials #77 on her cell phone evades a rapist pretending to be a police officer.


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E-mail offers sniper-avoidance tips from an experienced “SWAT sniper.”


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Female motorist at gas station is warned about the armed and dangerous man hiding in the back seat of her car.*


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A serial killer in Baton Rouge lures women from their homes by playing a recording of a crying baby.


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Cars have been stolen by thieves who wrote down VINs and used them to obtain duplicate keys through auto dealerships.


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A serial killer is luring women to their deaths with $5 bills they’ve ‘dropped.’


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Groups of gang members are committing robberies and carjackings in Round Rock, Texas.


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Hotel room keycards are encoded with personal information which can be easily harvested by thieves.


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Scammers pretend to be fraud investigation agents for Visa and MasterCard in order to obtain credit card security codes.


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Thieves are using camera cell phones to capture credit card information.


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Houston police are looking for robbers who use their vehicles to bump the cars of their victims.


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Parking lot carjackers are placing flyers on the rear windshields of automobiles, then taking the cars when drivers step out of their vehicles to remove the flyers.


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Woman narrowly escapes abduction attempt in the parking lot of a Cedar Falls Wal-Mart.


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Kryptonite brand locks can be picked with ordinary Bic pens.


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A gap between an object and its reflection is a way to distinguish two-way mirrors from ordinary mirrors.


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E-mail chronicles various ways scammers might obtain your credit card numbers.


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Robbers in shopping mall parking lots are using ether-filled perfume bottles to render their victims unconscious.


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Rapists are using little children who appear to be lost to lure victims.


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Abduction attempt foiled at a Wal-Mart in Saginaw, Texas.


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Woman robbed in Garland, Texas, by a thief who injected her with an unknown substance.


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Man in Chattanooga pretending to be drunk fools women drivers into thinking they’ve hit him as a way of luring them from their vehicles.


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Rapist prowling a Target store parking lot uses an elderly woman in distress to lure his victims.


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E-mail describes a case of three women being slipped Rohypnol by a St. Louis bartender and then raped.


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Michigan state police have issued a warning about an online predator named Jason Stallings.


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Assailant disables female target’s car by putting sugar water in her gas tank, causing vehicle to die in an isolated location.


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Some residence locks are vulnerable to unauthorized entry through the use of bump keys.”


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Woman in UK jabbed with unknown substance by panhandler.


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Smugglers hide drugs in Canadian vehicles parked at U.S. shopping malls, then follow them across the border.


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ATM users in the UK are robbed by newspaper distributors who jostle their victims during transactions.


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Maryland gangs are engaging in a deadly initiation game that requires new members to steal cars and shoot motorists on highways.


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E-mail describes an “acid bomb” left to explode on a residential porch.


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Memo from Louisiana government official warns about a Wal-Mart check theft ring.


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E-mail describes an attempted rape in Vacaville, California.


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Bulletin warns of a new drug called “Jenkem,” made by fermenting raw sewage.


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Thieves at shopping malls are placing sharpened spikes up against the tires of shoppers’ vehicles with an eye to disabling these vehicles and robbing shoppers who are attempting to drive home.


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Several homicides in the Florida/Georgia area are all the work of a single serial killer who dismembers his victims.


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E-mail describes an attempted robbery at a Wichita, Kansas, convenience store.


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Gang initiates in Montgomery, Alabama, are sneaking into cars at service stations and raping white female motorists.


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Propane tanks rendered dangerous to use because they’ve been used in the manufacture of methamphetamine are being returned to stores and resold.


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Gas purchaser fails to press “clear” after refueling; additional charges subsequently appear on card.


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Criminals at gas stations are handing out key rings with transmitters that enable them to track potential burglary or carjacking victims.


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Criminals in the U.S. are using burundanga-soaked business cards to incapacitate their victims.


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E-mail warns about a carjacking attempt in Whittier, California.


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Thieves steal women’s purses from restroom stalls, the burgle the empty houses when victims go to retrieve their “found” handbags.


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Car thieves at the Deerbrook Mall place baskets under cars to lure drivers out of their vehicles.


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Criminal gangs in Arlington are staging medical emergencies to lure drivers out of their cars and rob them.


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Robbers fling eggs at cars to impair drivers’ vision.


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Thieves drill hole under vehicle’s door handle, break in, steal only one item, then use auto’s GPS to locate car owner’s home for future burglary.


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Plastic soda bottles left in unsuspecting residents’ yards may be bottle bombs.


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A woman approached by a stranger at a gas station was injected with a knockout drug via a handshake.


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Attempted abduction at Westfield Mall in Toledo.


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Stalker tracks women by offering Ugg boots for sale.


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Police are looking for a beating suspect named Dusty Wes Edwards.


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Criminals are marking homes with colored stickers in order to steal dogs for use in dogfighting events.


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A man named Joshua Max Gallagher severely beat a 17-month-old girl.


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Jesse Shedd is wanted by the police for beating an autistic woman named Ashley Hamilton.


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Door-to-door booksellers with Slavic accents are actually targeting young girls for sex trafficking.


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“Sliders” steal women’s purses while their owners are busy pumping gas.


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Photos taken with smartphones can provide others with the locations of the children pictured.


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List written by a cop details crime prevention tips.


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Gangs are planning a multi-city murder spree in imitation of the film Purge 2.


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Child predators use Facebook to source victims by adding unsuspecting parents as friends.


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Operatives of ISIS are marking Christian homes.


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ISIS operatives go door to door in Michigan, killing military families in cold blood.


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Criminals are modifying “super soaker” water guns to conceal shotguns or other large firearms.


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Gang members are targeting police vehicles and civilians with PBA stickers, and loosening the lug nuts on the cars’ tires.


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Air travelers are at risk of arrest for unwittingly transporting contraband in modified water bottles.


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A convicted sex offender named Herb Carlyle is using social media sites to interact with children.


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Parents should be extra careful with their children during the annual “Alice Day” celebration on April 25.


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A man named John Fawcett is at large and suspected of sexually abusing a child.


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Mothers who post their children’s names, birth dates, and birth weights on Facebook for Mother’s Day are exposing their children to scammers and criminals.


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Criminals are marking houses and cars with a set of symbols to tip off fellow thieves.


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A father and son were gravely sickened at an Omaha Ramada resort by a hotel coffee pot was used to cook meth by a previous guest.


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A female shopper at a Tampa-area Target store was targeted by child sex trafficking operatives.


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Victims of domestic violence can secretly signal for help by drawing black dots on their palms.


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Blue lines painted on curbs signify a residence wherein a police officer can reliably find back-up.