Circulating messages claim that criminals lurking in parking areas are using drugs disguised as perfume to debilitate and rob victims.
The warnings are untrue and should not be taken seriously. They are just incarnations of a long-running urban legend that has been passed around since at least the year 2000. The stories are derived from a 1999 case in which a woman in Alabama claimed to have been assaulted and robbed by assailants who used a debilitating substance disguised as perfume. The original story remains unsubstantiated and may well be untrue. And no credible police or news reports about such robbery methods have been published in the years since. Moreover, it would normally take more than one or two sniffs of a substance – even ether – to render a victim instantly unconscious. Versions of the “warning” have been set in several countries.
I wanted to do the same for you.____________________________________________________PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS, AND PLEASE BE ALERT AND BE AWARE. IF YOU ARE A MAN AND RECEIVE THIS, PASS IT ON TO YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS.
Ladies, this happened to me yesterday and I didn’t smell the perfume either, thanks to this email. This is true. Believe me, I know. I was over by Big Lots in the carpark at lunch time when I was approached. So either day or night, it does not matter. There were 3 guys together when I was approached. I called the police. Like the email says above, LET EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT THIS – YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, CO-WORKERS, whomever. It helped me. The first thing that popped into my head was this e-mail warning.
According to this widely circulated warning message, criminals are using ether disguised as perfume as a means of debilitating and robbing victims. The message claims that the criminals are posing as parking lot perfume sellers and are asking passers-by to sniff their samples.
Supposedly, the perfume is laced with a substance so powerful that the sniffers will immediately pass out, thus allowing the robbers to easily steal their possessions.
A newer social-media driven variant claims that the robbers are presenting papers laced with knock-out perfume to victims for sniffing.
However, the warnings are just incarnations of a long-running urban legend that has been passed around since at least the year 2000. Versions of the “warning” have been set in several countries, including the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Northern Ireland.
In 1999, Bertha Johnson of Mobile, Alabama claimed to have been assaulted and robbed by assailants who used a debilitating substance disguised as perfume. The story was reported by local media and soon made its way to the Internet and spread rapidly, morphing as it went. The tale changed from being a simple report about a single alleged incident to breathless warnings claiming that such attacks were common and widespread.
But, there are no credible news or police reports that suggest that such robbery attempts are commonly occurring. In fact, even the original story may have been untrue. Later toxicology reports on samples of Johnson’s blood and urine revealed no abnormal substances. And, when the alleged robbery took place, Johnson was in possession of a substantial sum of her employer’s money.
Moreover, while ether is certainly capable of rendering a person unconscious, it would take considerably more than a casual sniff of the substance to achieve that aim. In fact, despite what movies and television dramas would have us believe, there are probably very few – if any – substances that would have such an instant knock-out effect after just one or two open-air sniffs.
Nevertheless, well over a decade later, versions of the warnings continue to hit inboxes and appear on social networking sites. As always, the warnings are never confirmed by any credible police or media reports. The old stories are probably given new life by sightings of real car park perfume sellers. Some perfume distributors may well employ mobile sales staff who may offer free samples to potential customers. Of course, the samples only contain perfume as claimed and the sellers have no sinister intentions ( other than to separate shoppers from their hard-earned).
There are several variations of the original story that circulate as separate warning messages. One falsely claims that several people have died after sniffing perfume samples sent to them in the mail. Another variant claims – again falsely – that criminals are using business cards laced with the drug burundanga to debilitate and control victims.