A report circulating on Facebook warning people about “human trafficking” at the Tanger Outlets mall in Riverhead is “unsubstantiated,” Riverhead Town Police Chief David Hegermiller said today.

Riverhead police have not received any report of the alleged incident that’s being shared on Facebook this week, Hegermiller said.

The anonymous Facebook post, titled “Human Trafficing [sic] is real” says a woman shopping with her infant child was followed by a woman and then a group of men at the Riverhead outlet mall. Written in the first person, the post says the strangers followed her from store to store and surrounded her at one of the center’s food courts.

“I felt as if they were waiting for my husband to walk away so we immediately get up to leave realizing something wasn’t right. As we leave I see the men drop their food and follow behind us. We were lucky to have put together what was going on and be able to get to our car safely with our baby,” the post says, then asks people to “PLEASE share this around.”

The post has, in fact, been shared hundreds of times on Facebook.

But no one reported the alleged incident to Riverhead police, Hegermiller said. The police department became aware of the post and are looking into it, the chief said.

“It sounds familiar,” Hegermiller said, noting that last fall another Facebook post made the rounds about a man stalking mothers and children in the Riverhead Target parking lot.

Anyone who encounters suspected illegal activity of any kind should always call police to report it, Hegermiller said. Reports should be made to the police department at 631-727-4500.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.