Fact Check

Woman Injected with Knockout Drug at Gas Station

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

Published Nov 10, 2010

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


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2010]

At the JUNIOR MARKET on Sandbridge Rd, near the villages of LAGOMAR and HERITAGE PARK, a woman from Sandbridge was pumping gas when a man came up and asked her for money for gas. She gave him a few dollars then she finished pumping gas. She was on the phone with a friend of hers at the time. Before she got back into the car, the man came back, grasped her hand and wrist and acted like he was shaking her hand saying "Thank you so much for your generosity." He was wearing a very large ring and squeezed her hand tightly. The woman got in her car and as she pulled out, a car cut her off in front and another car pulled in and tailed her closely. With in a mile the woman told her friend on the phone she felt dizzy and was going to pass out. Her friend told her not to pull over but find the closest public place. She made it to the parking lot of Margie and Rays and passed out on the front steps. She had two puncture wounds on her wrist and the toxicology report showed she had been injected with something like the date rape drug. People think these men are targeting women who they suspect to be close to home when they get gas then follow them, hoping they will pass out in their driveways or homes so they have full access to them in a private location. Be aware, be safe, please share!!!!


Origins:   This item about a purported robbery attempt in the Virginia Beach area is similar to other (apocryphal) warnings supposedly involving the use of burundanga: the victim is approached in a gas station by a stranger on a pretext, the stranger initiates some form of physical exchange or contact, the victim is followed by other vehicles as she leaves the location, and the victim soon afterwards begins to feel ill and woozy but just manages to flee her pursuers to a place of safety before passing out. The obvious inference is that one of the perpetrators surreptitiously slipped their intended victim a fast-acting knockout drug that is effectively transmitted through mere skin contact or slight surface injection, a drug that would allow just enough time for the victim to leave the public area and be isolated where help was not immediately available before she lost consciousness, whereupon the perpetrators would rob (and possibly rape or murder) her. (Many of these elements are also common to apocryphal warnings about strangers attempting to sell perfume in parking lots.)

What makes this particular advisory stand out is the purported method of delivery for the knockout drug: a ring worn by the
assailant used to inject the mickey finn into the target during a handshake.

As with all such warnings of this ilk which we've encountered, police found upon investigation that the details of the alleged crime (as reported in circulated e-mail messages) were not borne out by the evidence:

According to the Virginia Beach Police Department, the investigation into this matter is closed. Their conclusion was that no crime was committed, and the entire e-mail was an urban myth fed by the Internet.

Police said there was no evidence to support the two key elements of the story in the e-mail pertaining to an alleged attempt to inject a woman with a drug or toxin that led to the illness she experienced shortly after her encounter.

"From the hospital findings, there were no puncture wounds, no marks. No kind of injuries to her and the hospital cannot find anything medically wrong with her. So everything after that that's in the e-mail that talks about the date-rape drug, that talks about the puncture wounds, every thing in there to this point, we have deemed as false," said [Virginia Beach Police spokesperson Adam] Bernstein.

Last updated:   10 November 2010


    WAVY-TV [Hampton Roads, VA].   "Ominous E-Mail Circulates in Va. Beach."

    9 November 2010.

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