A savvy young woman may have evaded an attempted kidnapping by being mindful of tricks potential abductors use to throw targets off-guard.
Ashley Hardacre was heading home for her job at Genesee Valley Mall in Flint, Michigan, when she spotted a bunched-up shirt on her windshield as she was getting into her car. The 19-year-old was vigilant that there was an idling car nearby in the dark parking lot, and decided not to get out to remove the item from her windshield. Instead she made sure her doors were locked and drove off, waiting until she felt it was safe to get out and remove the shirt.
Hardacare, who told CBS News that her mother had educated her about potential traps kidnappers might use to claim a victim, believes the shirt may have been left there to distract her.
“There were two cars near me and one was running so I immediately felt uneasy and knew I couldn’t get out to get it off,” Hardacre explained in the post. “Luckily, I knew better than to remove the shirt with cars around me so I drove over to a place where I was safe and quickly rolled down my window and got the shirt off.”
Though it’s unclear if Hardacare was in any immediate danger, she nonetheless believes the experience should serve as a warning and wanted to share her story to help other people remain vigilant and safe. A Facebook message recounting the incident has been shared over 90,000 times since she posted it on Thursday.
“I posted about the incident to inform others that it can happen to anyone and that they shouldn’t fall for it,” Hardacre told CBS News “A lot of people think it is fake or it won’t happen to them. But you can never be too safe.”
Hardcare said in her Facebook post, included below in full, that from now on she will ask mall security to walk her back to her car after her shift:
As some of you know I work at a store in the Mall out in flint. I worked a closing shift tonight so me and the girls I work with always walk out together to make sure we are safe in the parking lot. I got to my car and locked the doors behind me immediately as I always do and noticed that there was a blue flannel shirt on my windshield. There were two cars near me and one was running so I immediately felt uneasy and knew I couldn’t get out to get it off. At first I thought maybe someone had just thrown it on my car for some odd reason. I used my windshield wipers to try to get them off but the shirt was completely wrapped around my wiper blade. I had seen posts lately about people finding things under their windshield wipers in the burton/Flint area as an attempt to get girls out of their cars and distracted. Luckily I knew better than to remove the shirt with cars around me so I drove over to a place where I was safe and quickly rolled down my window and got the shirt off. I don’t know why the shirt was on my car but it had to have been intentional the way it was put on there. I really can’t think of another reason as to why someone would put it on my car. Tomorrow I am informing security of the situation and making them walk me to my car from now on. It definitely frightened me a little bit 😥 I’m so glad my parents had informed me that it was happening in our area, I just never thought it would potentially happen to my car.