Fact Check

Car Bump Scam

Are police in Houston looking for robbers who bump the cars of their victims?

Published Jul 26, 2011

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


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2004]

Hey Everyone,

One of my friends was robbed at gunpoint in her car this morning off of Braeswood inside the loop. A young, hispanic male bumped her car from behind and she stopped. He came up to her window and she was going to give him her insurance and he pulled a revolver out and took her money, car keys, cell phone and pin number to her ATM Account. He took her car keys and phone so she couldn't drive off or call anyone and they could get away.

This happened before 8:30 this morning and when she spoke to the police they told her it was the 5th one that morning. They robbed a person in South Houston, 2 in West University, and one in Bellaire. They had already taken $200.00 out of her account by the time she called the bank - which was 10 - 15 minutes after it happened.

The police said that if you are bumped from behind - DO NOT STOP and to proceed to your nearest Police or Fire Departments.

Please be careful and spread the word!!!!


Origins:   It's

incidents like this one that point out the pitfalls of forwarding "Send this to everyone you know!" crime warnings — even when they're true (as was the case here), they're often so woefully out-of-date by the time most folks receive them as to be useless. Also, such alerts tend to live forever in cyberspace, because news that the problem has been resolved never catches up with the cautions or quickly drops off the radar.

The robberies described above were real, but the perpetrators are now in the hands of the law.

During a three-hour, thirteen-minute span on 8 January 2004, a trio of armed robbers accosted motorists in and around the city of Houston, Texas. Some of the victims had their cars rammed, while others were approached in their driveways or in parking lots. In all, sixteen people were robbed, most of them Hispanic women, many of whom worked as


One woman — 7½ months pregnant — was robbed of her purse and vehicle as she arrived for work in downtown Houston and parked her car. Her Chevrolet Trailblazer was later used in some of the other robberies and has yet to be recovered.

Other drivers were robbed when the perpetrators bumped their vehicles from behind (sometimes while the cars were moving, and sometimes while they were halted at stop signs). When the drivers stepped out of their cars to investigate, the robbers held them at gunpoint and demanded their money, their car keys, and sometimes their cell phones (the latter two to keep the victims from giving chase or calling police). The same criminals also robbed one woman of her purse while she was walking to work.

Each of the three young men responsible for this spree (ages 18, 18, and 19) gave a videotaped confession and implicated himself or his partners in the crimes. As to what prompted this sudden crime wave, according to a robbery investigator who worked the case, the three young men were bored and saw the morning's work as entertainment.

The situation has been resolved in Houston. However, motorists everywhere should still exercise caution if their vehicles are rammed, because this ploy has often been used to lure unsuspecting victims from the safety of their cars, either to rob them or to rape them. Stay aware.

Barbara "well reared" Mikkelson

Last updated:   22 July 2011


    Aguilar, Charlotte and Michael Reed.
    "Anatomy of a Rumor: Crime Spree E-Mails Merely Urban Legends."

    [West University] Examiner News.   28 February 2006.

    O'Hare, Peggy.   "Crime Tear Seen As 'A Game,' Police Say."

    The Houston Chronicle.   16 January 2004   (p. A23).

    O'Hare, Peggy.   "Car-Ramming Robbers Hunted by Local Police."

    The Houston Chronicle.   10 January 2004   (p. A30).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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