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.
Support local journalism.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.