FLINT, Mich. — The 19-year-old who posted a Facebook warning after finding a shirt laid over her windshield was the victim of a “random prank” and not, as she feared, the target of a nefarious plan to lure her out of her car, police said.
On Feb. 16, Ashley Hardacre had just finished working at the Genesee Valley Mall in Flint, Michigan, and walked across the dark parking lot to her car, where she found a blue flannel shirt thrown over her windshield and tucked underneath a windshield wiper.
“There were two cars near me and one was running so I immediately felt uneasy and knew I couldn’t get out to get it off,” Hardacre explained on Facebook. “Luckily, I knew better than to remove the shirt with cars around me so I drove over to a place where I was safe and quickly rolled down my window and got the shirt off.”
She told CBS News that her mother had warned her of people trying to trick women into getting out of their cars by putting objects on their windshield.
She posted about the incident on Facebook and it quickly went viral, garnering more than 100,000 shares. The original post is no longer available.
Flint Township police later made contact with Hardacre and were able to track down two men with a vehicle description, according to MLive.
“As a result of these interviews, they admitted to putting the shirt on the vehicle as a random prank,” police said in a statement. “Also, interior video surveillance at the Genesee Valley Center corroborated their presence at the mall.”
Surveillance video showed the men were at the mall and had left more than an hour before she returned to her car.
The men have apologized for their actions and told police they had no idea that the prank could be construed as a human trafficking ploy, the newspaper reports.