Naked At The Mall
Date Added: Nov. 26, 2002
Many urban legends try to masquerade as legitimate news stories, but rarely come off as convincing. This one is no exception.
Ladies, please be careful! Brothers pass it on!
From the AP news wire.
Don't be surprised to see a naked woman walking out of a shopping mall restroom: The latest scam being perpetrated in our nations shopping malls is not the cost of gourmet ice cream cones or Harry Potter collectible figurines. With what is being called amazing regularity, victims of this new crime wave have been found walking out of shopping mall restrooms completely naked.
This has almost always been done by men to women, with a few exceptions. The way the scam works is, a man slips into a women's restroom and sneaks into a stall. He waits until there is only one woman in the restroom in a neighboring stall.
The criminal then stands on the toilet and points a hand gun into the next stall, demanding the woman's valuables. After getting her cash and jewelry, he demands that she remove all of her clothing and kick them out of the stall. The thief tosses the clothing into a shopping bag, hangs an out of order sign on the restroom door, and slips back into the mall.
The out of order sign ensures no one will soon come to the woman's rescue. It usually takes an hour or two for the woman to work up the nerve to leave the restroom in the nude, giving the criminal ample time to make his get away.
The woman is left naked and humiliated in a mall full of strangers. The best defense, say police, is to never go into a shopping mall restroom alone, as only women who are by themselves are targeted.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. This has so far been a nearly perfect crime, as none of the perpetrators have been caught. Don't let this happen to another woman.
This is just one in a long line of warnings about the terrible things that can happen in the shopping mall. The victim is almost always a young woman, the perpetrator a man, and the crime very embarrassing to the victim. Other shopping mall horror stories include abductions schemes, knock-out perfume and gang initiations.
The spelling and grammar mistakes, coupled with a very un-newslike tone, should be more than enough evidence that this did not come from the Associated Press (AP).
In true urban legend style, we're given a detailed description of a bizarre crime that could happen, but no evidence that it has happened. No locations, names or dates are given. Who is the author and why does he or she know about it if no perpetrators have been caught and the legitimate media has not reported it? And, of course, the crime could just as easily be perpetrated on men, but urban legends are also frequently based on the outmoded concept that women are weaker and more vulnerable than men.
There are no known reports of such a crime being committed anywhere in the United States. As I read it, I conjured up images of bored teenagers sitting in the mall food court saying things like: "You know, dude, a guy could sneak into the ladies' room and force women to undress for him and probably sneak out without getting caught." "Yeah, dude. And he could rob her while he was at it." That may be why this "news wire" story reads more like a criminal how-to guide. Unfortunately, for that reason, it runs the risk of encouraging copy-cat crimes. What better reason to break this chain!