‘If you see somebody, don’t stop your car’: Drivers advised not to stop for stranded motorist on I-85
Drivers have reported the man trying to stop people driving by, at times jumping out in front of cars waving them down to stop.
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Some TikTok videos are getting hundreds and thousands of views, sounding the alarm on people you might see flagging down cars on Interstate 85 exit ramps in Gaston and Mecklenburg counties.
Police and local leaders tell WBTV they have heard similar stories and are warning people to steer clear.
Drivers have reported the man at exit 27 in Belmont, exit 19 in Gastonia, and the exits to Interstate 485 in Mecklenburg County.
“Ladies, do not be a victim,” said Sarah Lee, a radio personality for 96.9 The Kat.
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“There is a man in North Carolina where I live that seems to be trying to get ladies to stop on exit ramps as you enter a highway, and I saw this with my own eyes yesterday,” said Lee on her TikTok.
The video posted shows a man standing outside of a black SUV along an I-85 exit ramp.
Drivers have reported the man trying to stop people driving by, at times jumping out in front of cars and waving them down to stop.
”He’ll say something like, ‘I’m going to the airport, I need to get my wife, I need to go pick something up at the airport, I’m out of gas, I just need a quick favor,’ whatever it may be. Then it starts out as it gets more in-depth, then all of a sudden jewelry will come out to try to solidify, ‘Hey I’m not trying to get you over, I’m just trying to get this’ … and the jewelry is not really worth anything,” Chad Brown, the Gaston County Board of Commissioner chair, said.
CMPD released a statement saying:
“We’re aware of this behavior/incidents going on. It’s been happening for around a year or so in this area. Not all of these interactions are criminal – as many times the individuals are proposing a legitimate civil transaction. There have been some that end up in a report due to the suspects escalating their behavior. As with any safety concerns and crimes committed, we ask people to call 9-1-1 if they were victimized. We also do not recommend stopping to help stranded motorists. You can contact the police department instead to report this type of incident or any suspicious behavior. I don’t have any specific reports or crime stats on this off hand but you are always welcome to file a public records request.”
“We cannot let our guard down, I know there are people out there that really need help,” said Lee. “If you see somebody, don’t stop your car. Call the cops; the cops can help them.”
“We want to make sure every family is safe this Christmas holiday season, but not just that, we don’t want some innocent person getting hurt, whether it be that person or someone driving,” Brown said.
Lee said the man appears to be in his early to mid-30′s and is well-dressed while on the exit ramps.
“Ladies, keep your eyes open, do not become a victim. It’s the holiday season, we’re stressed out, we’re tired, we’re mommas, we cannot let our guard down,” said Lee.
Drivers have reported this man is driving a black suburban with a Florida license plate.
The commissioner said the tags are fake and the guy is only on exits for 10 to 15 minutes, so police have not been able to talk to him yet.
Police tell WBTV if drivers witness any incidents or suspicious activity on exit ramps, call 911 to report it.
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