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Concern over robbery hoax

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Concern over robbery hoax

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POLICE OFFICIALS ARE urging persons to refrain from sending hoax messages via social networks.
Yesterday police public relations officer Inspector David Welch said the force was concerned about misinformation being spread through these media.  
This came following a BlackBerry message had been circulating that the Shell gas station in Warrens had been robbed at gunpoint and that the perpetrators escaped with a large sum of money.
In response to the reports of the robbery, Inspector Welch explained that it was not true and that investigations revealed that the information was a hoax.
“From initial reports, the information emanated from a social networking message and it made its rounds,” said Welch.
Robert Morris, general manager of Shell Warrens, also expressed concern about the practice. “It is very disconcerting when people spread rumours, as it is obvious that the business would see the negative effects.”
Morris explained that the station has been inundated with calls as people were still unaware that it was a hoax. He said he received calls from his insurance representative, the dealer and the police.
“How do you guard against things like this?” he asked, adding: “We live in a technological age and the use of technology can be negative or positive, but I think it is petty and childish that people can sit and think of these things.
“It is amazing that a mere prank can engage the attention of an entire nation.”  
Morris added that people were not discerning about the information they received and were not checking to verify the information from these types of media and there was a need to send a message out there that even though this practice can be fun for some people, it can have serious effects on others.
When asked if the message would have caused a fall-off in business as customers may be fearful to use the station, Morris said, “This is the first time that something like this has happened, so it is hard to say right now as the customers would not share their unwillingness with anyone, plus I cannot pin down a particular period to focus on as the message is still out there.”
The message read:  “Shell Warrens now get rob by two gunmen armed with two AK47s. They got away wid a large sum of money. Police got the surrounding area bar off and digging up. (LK)