Toledo police: Mall kidnap story going viral is hoax

Toledo Police and Westfield Franklin Park are shooting down a story spreading online about an attempted kidnapping at the mall.

The details of the story circulating in e-mails and on message boards vary, but the basics are that two men tried to kidnap a teenage girl from the Westfield Franklin Park mall only to be stopped by police. The accounts say the girl was rescued but the men fled.

One account states the teen was drugged, dressed as an adult and made to wear a wig as two men carried her to a van.

Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre says officers investigated the story - and none of it happened. He says if it is true, then someone is guilty of what he describes as "the biggest cover-up since Watergate." Navarre, and mall store owners, say they want to put an end to the rumors so business is not hurt.

Westfield has released a statement saying no such incident has ever been witnessed or reported at the mall.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)


The following e-mail was sent to media on Tuesday:

Subject: Re: Westfield Mall abductionIt has been reported by a prominent physician at Toledo Hospital that a 14 yr old girl was abducted last week at Westfield Mall. The child's head was covered with a wig and she was drugged and dressed as an adult as the 2 men carried her to a van. The mother screamed once realizing what had happened and Westfield security intervened but the abductors got away. My understanding is there were 3 other children in the van as well. I have no doubt that this story is factual given the highly respected source. My only question is how much power the international Westfield Mall conglomeration has- where they can easily suppress this story. Being that corporate security handled the incident from the start, I am sure they were told to keep the incident tight-lipped in fear of possible diminished holiday profits if word got out.