What Really Happened When This Woman Found a Shirt on Her Windshield

February 24th 2017

Mike Rothschild

On Wednesday, ATTN: reported on a viral story about a woman who returned to her car after work and found a flannel shirt tied to the windshield wiper. Now we have the truth.

Believing she was being set up for either a kidnapping or carjacking, Ashley Hardacre drove away with the shirt still on her windshield, and put a photo of it up on Facebook. While media coverage suggested this was a chilling new type of sex trafficking scheme, Snopes pointed out that such viral scares have never been connected with actual kidnappings by traffickers. It was an urban legend, in other words.

We have since learned the shirt was left on the windshield as a prank. 

According to local station Fox 2, police reviewed footage from the parking lot and saw two men leave the shirt on Hardacre's car. As Fox reported:

"Police say they spoke with the men, who said it was just meant as a harmless prank and they had no idea that leaving items on women's windshields could be a human trafficking ploy. Police in Flint tell us they believe their story, and are not naming the men since no crime was committed."

How leaving a shirt on someone's windshield equates to a "prank" isn't clear, but what is clear is that like every other viral scare about kidnapping from an empty parking lot, this had nothing to do with trafficking — and there was nothing to be afraid of.

Hardacre's viral Facebook post has since been made private.