Crime Alert: Eggs on Windshield / Fake Baby in Car Seat Beside the Road

Authorities say that these viral alerts are fake and warnings are unfounded

Abandoned old child car seat on beach
Sami Sarkis/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Starting in 2009, viral alerts have warned about two techniques criminals allegedly used to trick drivers into stopping their vehicles: throwing raw eggs at windshields and leaving infant car seats, occupied by fake babies, beside the road. Authorities say these warnings are unfounded.

Example Warning

This is an example of the infant car seat warning, as shared via Facebook on Sep. 16, 2012:

"A MESSAGE FROM THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL STATE OF MICHIGAN:

SITUATION... While driving on a rural end of the roadway on Thursday morning, I saw an infant car seat on the side of the road with a blanket draped over it. For whatever reason, I did not stop, even though I had all kinds of thoughts running through my head. But when I got to my destination, I called the Canton PD and they were going to check it out. But, this is what the Police advised even before they went out there to check....

'There are several things to be aware of ... gangs and thieves are now plotting different ways to get a person (mostly women) to stop their vehicle and get out of the car.

'There is a gang initiation reported by the local Police Department where gangs are placing a car seat by the road... with a fake baby in it.... waiting for a woman, of course, to stop and check on the abandoned baby. Note that the location of this car seat is usually beside a wooded or grassy (field) area and the person — woman — will be dragged into the woods, beaten and raped, and usually left for dead. If it's a man, they're usually beaten and robbed and maybe left for dead, too.

DO NOT STOP FOR ANY REASON!!! DIAL 9-1-1 AND REPORT WHAT YOU SAW, BUT DON 'T EVEN SLOW DOWN.

"IF YOU ARE DRIVING AT NIGHT AND EGGS ARE THROWN AT YOUR WINDSHIELD, DO NOT STOP TO CHECK THE CAR, DO NOT OPERATE THE WIPER AND DO NOT SPRAY ANY WATER BECAUSE EGGS MIXED WITH WATER BECOME MILKY AND BLOCK YOUR VISION UP TO 92.5%, AND YOU ARE THEN FORCED TO STOP BESIDE THE ROAD AND BECOME A VICTIM OF THESE CRIMINALS.

THIS IS A NEW TECHNIQUE USED BY GANGS, SO PLEASE INFORM YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES.

THESE ARE DESPERATE TIMES AND THESE ARE UNSAVORY INDIVIDUALS WHO WILL TAKE DESPERATE MEASURES TO GET WHAT THEY WANT.' Please talk to your loved ones about this. This is a new tactic used. Please be safe. Get started NOW — SEND THIS MESSAGE TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES TO BE CAREFUL AND AWARE OF EVERYTHING AROUND THEM SO AS NOT TO BECOME A VICTIM.

Other Warnings

In November 2009, recipients of the email below learned about the supposed egg-throwing ruse:

Fwd: NEW TRICK TO ROB YOU...

If you are driving at night and eggs are thrown at your windshield, do not operate the wiper and spray any water because eggs mixed with water become milky and block your vision up to 92.5% so you are forced to stop at the roadside and become a victim of robbers.

This is a new technique used by robbers.

Please inform your friends and relatives.

The Real Stories

These warnings originated as separate messages that were eventually combined into one. Authorities say they don't know who started these message strings. As you can see from the older examples above, the eggs-on-windshields alert first began circulating, with no mention of babies in car seats, in late 2009. A few months later it was merged with a separate alert (also circulating since 2009) claiming that aspiring gangsters are leaving infant car seats on roadsides to trick drivers into stopping as part of a "gang initiation" rite.

A thorough search of police reports and news stories documenting reveals these claims are almost certainly false. In fact, law enforcement agencies across North America have issued statements dismissing these warnings as fictitious and urging citizens to ignore them.