CHESTER, S.C. (WBTV) - Mysterious white dots have been popping up on windshields of cars parked in a shopping center in Chester County.
People in the area were worried the dots were linked to human trafficking, but the Sheriff’s Office says that is not the case.
Most of the reports and calls say they are finding white dots on their windshields after going into the Walmart in Chester. Deputies are working hard to find out what these dots may mean.
Some shoppers at this Chester Walmart pushed their carts to their cars and found the unusual markings.
“Some of the customers coming out and they were talking about three white dots on people’s cars," says Montrose Freeman.
When they lock up their cars and walk into the store, their windshields are dot free, but when they come out, it is tagged.
“It makes you nervous because you’ve got to watch your back and try to wonder where it’s coming from," says Freeman. "You got three dots on your car ok who is looking at me or what’s going on.”
Freeman heard about the dots, but has not had them on his car. He says it is strange, but he is less worried about himself being a target.
“My daughters and stuff like that, they come out here with their children and stuff. I would like them to be protected," says Freeman.
A rumor started on social media saying it was linked to sex traffickers trying to mark your car, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies say there is no evidence linking any type of human trafficking.
“These sex trafficking rumors are harmful because it causes a little bit of chaos," says Grant Suskin, the sheriff’s office spokesperson. “People feel uneasy they feel less trusting and that can interfere in the investigation.”
He says social media rumors of the dots being linked to sex trafficking spread like wildfire. The Sheriff’s Office says no one should be worried about these dots. They are most likely white paint or white out.
However, the Sheriff’s Office still wants everyone to be aware of their surroundings for anything that looks off.
“We haven’t found these dots being connected to human trafficking. We found this is mostly a social media rumor that’s been around for years. We do not feel there’s any threat to the public," says Suskin.
Chester County has not been the only area hit. Car windshields have been tagged in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. All of these cases are being investigated.
The Chester County Sheriff reached out to SLED to get help them investigate this.
WBTV reached out to the agency to see if anyone could provide more on the investigation.
A statement says car marking linked to sex trafficking rumors have been around for years, but “human trafficking exists and kidnappings occur so this is why we’re working with local law enforcement.”