A father has issued a stark warning to “vulnerable” women after finding an allegedly disturbing red flag on his daughter’s car.
TikTok user @boogeyman0302 urged viewers to “pay attention” in the clip, which has racked up more than 26 million views and four million comments in two months.
The video, shot from his point of view, shows him approaching a red car with a seemingly innocuous zip tie attached to the handle of one of the doors.
Addressing the viewer, he explains that his daughter works in “the big city” and finishes her shift (he doesn’t reveal what she does) at 3am. He and his family live in “the middle of nowhere” so it takes her around an hour to drive home,” he says.
Grasping the black zip tie he then says: “This is the third morning in a row I’ve found one of these on her car in the exact same spot – back passenger door.
“I didn’t know what it was, I just kept cutting it off,” he continues. “This morning, when I found it, I went in there and I asked her, I said, ‘What’s the deal with the zip tie being on your back passenger handle every morning? For the past three mornings, I’ve cut it off,’
“She said, ‘Dad, I don’t know what in the world you’re talking about [...] ‘I didn’t know there was a zip tie on there.”
The TikToker then says that he mentioned the situation to his brother, who upon hearing about it, fell extremely silent.
His brother, who works in law enforcement, swiftly urged him to cut the tie off, revealing that it had a sinister hidden meaning.
“Sex traffickers, and people that basically steal women, vulnerable women, put them on a car somewhere where it’s not easily noticeable for them, but other people who actually do the stealing know exactly what that means,” Boogeyman explains.
“So basically what this is, you all, is a tag – it alerts anyone who’s part of the organisation, I’ll call it, of sex trafficking or kidnappers/abductors, it lets them know that this person is vulnerable, they are by themselves, and they’re an easy target.”
Ending his video, he warns: “If you’ve got teenage kids – girls – that are out late at night, that are driving, check their car every morning.”
Viewers were left horrified by the account, with one pointing out: “That also means someone is watching her everyday [sic] and they’re planning, thats so scary.”
A second said: “This is the [fourth] video I've seen about these zip ties. So scary. Do they have cameras outside her work? Maybe they can see who's putting them there.”
Others were grateful for the advice, with one mother commenting: “Sent this to my daughters. Thank you, I’ve also told them don’t stop for anyone.”
Meanwhile, others shared their own worrying experiences, with one writing: “I had a key glued to my car one time. I spent five mins in a gas station, went inside, came back, and it was there.”
Another said: “My teenage daughter had noticed a piece of painter's tape on the antenna made onto the car similar to the color of her car,she worked the night [before].”
However, for anyone whose imagination is going into overdrive, one motoring website has offered some reassuring(ish) words.
“You may have seen a wire tied to your car door handle and wondered what it is. Do not worry, you are not being targeted. If you see a wire tied to your car door handle, It’s probably just a harmless prank,” Automobiles Illustrated suggests.
It continues in a story on its site: “Recently, it has been discovered that criminals and kidnappers are using a zip tie to keep people out of their vehicles by attaching them to the door handles. This tactic was first reported in 2015 when Facebook users warned each other about sex traffickers using the method in Canadian cities.
“However, more recent reports have stated that there have been no confirmed cases of sex traffickers using this technique in Canada.”
It goes on to say that the FBI has declined to comment on whether or not it is investigating this “new trend” but stresses there is “no confirmation if the zip tie tactic being used to traffic people is a legitimate threat or not”.
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