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Hoax text and e-mail 'warnings' concern SCV Walmart shoppers

Posted: March 19, 2009 6:47 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2009 4:06 p.m.
An e-mail and text message circulating throughout the Santa Clarita Valley today warning of an impending attack on women and children at a local retail store appears to be the same hoax that has been circulating for years.

The e-mail, which has been copied into text and other social messaging formats, stated that a gang initiation will occur this evening at a local Walmart Store in Santa Clarita. This message appears to be the same hoax e-mail that has been circulating throughout the nation since 2005.

The same e-mail, basic wording and format, has circulated in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and many other states. It frequently and randomly resurfaces in various cities and states.

There have been no reported attacks on women or children linked to this e-mail at our local Walmart Stores. Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Detectives assigned to the COBRA team investigated today's e-mail and have not developed any intelligence indicating such an attack will occur.

Santa Clarita Sheriff's officials will follow the same investigative procedures for any e-mails of this type that carry a threatening tone and are intended to spark undue fear in our community.

Despite the fact this particular e-mail appears to be the same hoax, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will increase patrol checks of our area stores throughout the evening. Any suspicious activity or persons should be immediately reported to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

Walmart also says they are stepping up security to guarantee the safety of all shoppers and released the following statement publicly: "The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority. We are aware of the message being circulated and are working with local authorities to enhance our security efforts in our stores. While we take these types of situations seriously, we regard this as being only a rumor, much like similar rumors that have circulated via e-mail in previous years."


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