FLINT, Mich. – The flannel shirt that was left on a Michigan woman's windshield and sparked a viral warning about the tactics of human trafficking was left as a prank by two men, police announced Friday.
Ashley Hardacre, 19, said she noticed what looked like a shirt sitting on her windshield around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 when she was leaving work at the Genesee Valley Center. Hardacre said somebody had wrapped a flannel shirt over the glass and secured it under the windshield wiper.
Hardacre said she was afraid the shirt was a trap and didn't remove it until she had driven to a safe place.
Flint police investigated the incident and identified two men who were at the mall. During an interview, the men admitted to putting the shirt on the windshield as a random prank, police said.
Surveillance video showed the two men at the Gensee Valley Center, but they left the parking lot more than an hour before Hardacre go to her car.
The men said they didn't know that putting an item on the windshield of a car could be used as a human trafficking tactic. They offered their apologies to Hardacre that the prank caused her to be scared that night.
Hardacre took a photo of the shirt before removing it from the windshield and posted it on social media. The post was shared over 100,000 times and was used as a warning about tactics of human trafficking.
Here's what Hardacre wrote in the post:
"As some of you know I work at a store in the Mall out in flint. I worked a closing shift tonight so me and the girls I work with always walk out together to make sure we are safe in the parking lot. I got to my car and locked the doors behind me immediately as I always do and noticed that there was a blue flannel shirt on my windshield. 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.
"At first I thought maybe someone had just thrown it on my car for some odd reason. I used my windshield wipers to try to get them off but the shirt was completely wrapped around my wiper blade. I had seen posts lately about people finding things under their windshield wipers in the burton/Flint area as an attempt to get girls out of their cars and distracted. 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. I don't know why the shirt was on my car but it had to have been intentional the way it was put on there. I really can't think of another reason as to why someone would put it on my car. T.
"Tomorrow I am informing security of the situation and making them walk me to my car from now on. It definitely frightened me a little bit 😥 I'm so glad my parents had informed me that it was happening in our area, I just never thought it would potentially happen to my car."
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