Toilet Stall attacks

The festive season is upon us and South African’s are getting ready for our two favourite pass-times: Shopping and Crime (okay, maybe drinking beer and swearing at the neighbours are more preferred, but bear with me here). Of course, along with this upsurge in crime, there is an increase in emails claiming to be warnings from the South African Police Service (SAPS) about terrible crimes and plots afoot.

I have received a number of these types of emails in the past few weeks, and here is the first of them:



Please pass on to all the ladies you know and care about. 

Don’t be surprised to see a n@ked woman walking out of a shopping mall restroom:
With what is being called amazing regularity, victims of this new crime wave have been found walking out of shopping mall restrooms completely naked. The scam begins when a man slips into a women’s restroom and sneaks into a stall. He waits until there is only one woman in the restroom in a neighboring stall. He then quickly puts an out of order sign on the outside of the restroom door. The out of order sign guarantees no one will soon come to the woman’s
rescue. The criminal stands on the toilet and points a handgun into the next stall,
demanding the woman’s valuables binding her hands and mouth, and

After getting her cash, jewellery and credit cards, he orders her to remove all of her clothing and kick them out of the stall. The thief tosses the clothing into a shopping bag, and slips back into the mall. In some instances the sight of the woman’s nakedness sparks his lust, and he then r@pes her before fleeing the scene. It usually takes an hour or two before the woman work up the nerve to leave the restroom in the nude, giving the criminal ample time to make his get away, sometimes with her own car. The woman is eventually left naked and humiliated in a mall full of strangers.

Main targeted areas include 
 Gateway– 1 incident – 1 criminal – woman valuables taken 
 La Lucia– 3 incidents – 2 criminals – 3 women valuables taken 1 r@ped 
 Pavilion– 1 incident – 1 criminal – woman r@ped 
 Sanlam Centre– 1 incident – 1 criminal – woman hijacked 
 Cresta Mall – 4 incidents – 2 criminals – 3 women valuables taken – 1r@ped 
 South Gate Mall – 9 incidents – 4 criminals – 3 women valuables taken – 6r@ped 
 The Glen Mall – 4 incidents – 2 women valuables taken – 2 r@ped 
 Sandton Mall – 5 incidents – 2 criminals – 3 women valuables taken – 4r@ped

The best defense is to never go into a shopping mall restroom alone, as only women who are by themselves are being targeted. Take a lady friend or a family member with. If you do find yourself in this situation, do not be passive. Make as much noise as possible. These criminals are looking for quiet victims so they can make an easy escape. Be careful out there !!!

This has so far been a nearly perfect crime, as none of the perpetrators have been caught. Don’t let this happen to another woman.

It is believed that this happens to young boys also, 6 year old was sodomised by a gentleman at the Southgate Mall recently whilst the mother was waiting outside the rest rooms for him she only realized 30 minutes to an hour later when he did not come out of the restrooms that there could be a problem. 

The next gentleman walking in was asked to check and found him crying in the stalls as he could not move. 

Take care people, summer is here and we are all going be going out on different ventures.


Inspector Ian Roberts 
SAPS Public Information Officer

I have removed the bright blue, purple and red font colours because, really now, that type of formatting is a crime.

Basically, this email claims that women are being robbed and raped in the bathroom stalls of shopping malls and left naked. They stay in the stalls and only come out much later. This claim has been circulating as a hoax email since 2002 and older debunkings can be found at, Hoax-Slayer and Snopes. All three debunkings offer the same basic points as arguments that this email is a hoax:

  1. The 2002 email claiming to be from “The AP News Wire” certainly is not associated with the Associated Press.
  2. There are no news reports of such an incident having taken place.
  3. Malls have regular bathroom cleaning checks and these bathrooms are not empty for hours on end.
This particular email is obviously a descendent of those earlier mails, much of the wording is the same except for a few changes. Somebody also decided that specific details are necessary to make the story more believable so he/she slapped in some shopping centre names and claims of crimes. He also adds the name of a Police “Public Information Officer” to the bottom of the mail.
There are a few things that alert me to the fact that this could not have been sent by anyone in the SAPS, and especially not a PR officer.
  1. The grammar and spelling are not professional enough to come from a PR guy. Now, I know that the SAPS is not renowned for it’s impeccable literacy, but I have never seen an official statement where they insist on spelling “naked” and “rape” with @s and !s so that it isn’t a bad word.
  2. This particular email also contains a claim about a young boy being sodomised and, this is what makes my blood boil, the person who wrote the hoax calls the perp a “gentleman”! Gentlemen don’t sodomise little boys, and I don’t think anyone in their right mind would refer to someone who did in such flowery terms.
  3. The mother of the little boy apparently waited “30 minutes to an hour” outside the bathroom for her son. Yeah, right! When I send my son in to the bathroom alone I watch that door like a hawk and if he takes longer than 5 minutes I call in to see what he’s up to. I don’t think I’m that unusual as far as mothers go. And I can’t imagine standing around for an hour waiting for the little guy to pee. This did not happen.
If you want to see what a real SAPS media release looks like (which is how they would release a warning) visit the SAPS News Site. They even have a section of their website dedicated to safety tips and a special page for shopping safely. No mention of toilet stall rapists.
Although I find nothing compelling in this email to suggest that it is true, I concede that crimes such as this could, and may already, have happened. But this email is a hoax. The claims made, the statistics randomly generated, all of it is fake.
But please do take care of yourself during the holidays.

3 responses to “Toilet Stall attacks

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