Wal-Mart Gang Text & Email Message Not Real

Corporal Jerry Neufeld, Amarillo Police Department
Corporal Jerry Neufeld, Amarillo Police Department

The perk of instant communication can also be its downfall.

An email and text message circulating not only the Panhandle region but the entire country has set off alarm bells because it alleges gang activity at local stores.

First of all, the message is a hoax, being sent on cell phones and email inboxes all the way from California to Delaware, but confirmed by no one in law enforcement.

It is a message that reportedly started making the rounds Wednesday night in Hereford, Dumas, Amarillo and quickly spread to other areas.

It says police confirmed gang activity at Wal-Mart, but that is not the case.

Corporal Jerry Neufeld with the Amarillo Police Department says, "we did not confirm it. From what we've been told in some of the messages that were going out it said it was confirmed by APD but it was not the Amarillo Police Department."

Danny Alexander with the Randall County Sheriff's Office says, "it's a hoax, it was not generated by any law enforcement agency that we can tell. It's just one of those things going around in this instant information age where people will just say things and they have this instant credibility which is ridiculous."

Ridiculous because before checking with police, it was forwarded dozens of times over.

Neufeld says, "we would ask, or strongly urge, confirm it with law enforcement before you assume it's true."

He says they will do some checking and determine if the threat is real.

A detective with the Dumas Police Department says he even checks a website called www.snopes.com , which lists urban myths like the one now going around.

Neufeld says the origin of this message will be very difficult to track. But if you cause a panic with what you send and police find you, you can be charged.