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E-Mail That Warns of Gang Rite Is a Hoax, Anaheim Police Say

Times Staff Writer

An e-mail advising nighttime drivers not to signal cars that have their headlights off, lest they become the victim of a violent rite of passage among gangs, is a hoax, Anaheim police said.

According to the e-mail, the driver of the car with its lights off is involved in a gang initiation and is to follow and shoot the driver of any car that flashes its lights.

Anaheim police said they had received dozens of calls since the e-mail began circulating. The e-mail gives the appearance of having been issued by the department’s gang unit. Concern about the supposed gang initiation has been popping up since at least 1993, when residents across the country began contacting police about the rumor.

“It’s a suburban legend,” Anaheim Police Officer Michael Brannigan said.

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“Neither I nor any of my colleagues have ever seen anything even close to that happening.”

In fact, if drivers see a car at night being driven without its headlights on, they should send a high-beam signal for safety’s sake, police said.


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