There is a viral Facebook post being spread around the social networking platform that usually begins with a scary warning for parents to watch their children. Then the Facebook post launched into a detailed explanation that claimed a 17-year-old girl visited a Meijer grocery store only to discover a strange man staring at her, so much so that the teen felt the need to approach a Meijer employee. The hoax Facebook post claimed that the teen felt herself get poked by a needle. As seen in the excerpt below from the fake Facebook post, the story went on to claim that the man was on a top list in the U.S. for human sex traffickers, and that the drugs found in the needle were ones that would have incapacitated the teen.
“Yesterday at Meijer in Ionia, Michigan, a friend’s daughter (17 years old) went to pick up a few items. When she walked into the store she noticed a man staring at her. She went about her business to find that man was following her and watching her. She was by herself so she decided to go over by an employee. She turned back to see if the man was still watching her but he was gone. Not even 10 seconds later she felt a poke from behind her. She turned to find that man standing there she ran pulling her jacket off and yelled to the store employee. Make a long story short that man was on the America’s top list of fugitives for human trafficking. The needle still in her jacket had a drug which would have made her awake but unable to fight him off so he could make it out of the store without raising suspicion. They caught him since he was still in the store looking and waiting for his next victim.”
Even though the viral Facebook post went on to claim that it was not a joke, and that Michigan is ranked No. 2 for human sex trafficking, the Ionia County Central Dispatch E911 Facebook page warns that the viral Facebook post does not have any proof in reality.
According to M Live, the authorities in Ionia noted that many people let them know about the viral Facebook post that was being passed around.
Indeed, searching for the term “Yesterday at Meijer in Ionia, Michigan” on Facebook shows plenty of people spreading the viral Facebook post, with at least one of those Facebook posts getting more than 1,500 shares on Facebook. Plenty of those sharing the viral story will preface the Facebook post with warnings for others to safeguard their children. Others write that they received the news via their email inboxes or copied it from other Facebook posts. Many of those sharing the fake Facebook post show locations inside Michigan; therefore, the “scary” news being reported seems to hit close to home.
However, the story being passed around about the needle stick at a local Meijer store in Michigan is being called false. Ionia authorities said there was no report of such an incident to their dispatch center, even though the viral Facebook post claims that the man who stuck the teen with a needle had been caught looking for his next victim.
It isn’t the first time that fake Facebook posts have claimed that human sex traffickers have emerged in popular stores. The article on Snopes titled “Narrow Brush with Human Traffickers at a Southern California IKEA?” deems the story about kidnappers in IKEA unproven. Another viral Facebook post claimed that a cargo container of black women were found in Savannah.