10-26-2004, 12:06 AM
I have not personally tried this, it was sent to me in an e-mail so I thought I'd pass it on here. Zach says that it's only good in Canada and not in the US. If that's true, at least this story will help make more people aware of their rights when it comes to safety. Sorry for the confusion.
This was sent to me and I think it is worth sharing with the members here.
I knew about the red light on cars, but not the *677. It was about 1 PM in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren's parents have 4 children (high school and college age) and have always told them never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather wait until they get a gas station, etc.
Lauren had actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called
*677 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not
pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there were police cars where she was and there weren't, and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back up already on the way. Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman
went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground. The man was a convicted
rapist and wanted for other crimes.
I never knew about the *677 Cell Phone Feature, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car.
Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a "safe" place. You obviously need to make some signals that you acknowledge them (i.e. put on your hazard lights) or call *677 like Lauren did. Too bad the cell phone companies don't generally give you this little bit of wonderful information.
*Speaking to a service representative at **Bell** Mobility confirmed that *677 was a direct link to OPP Dispatch. So, now it's your turn to let your friends know about *677.
Send this to every woman you know, it may save a life.
Department of Curricular Studies
601 South College Road
Wilmington NC 28403
10-26-2004, 01:37 AM
Wow, that was an incredible, touching, and most informative story. Thank you so very much for sharing. Wow, I never knew that existed and it could come in handy for everybody, not just the female population. I will pass this on to my younger stepsister.
10-26-2004, 06:00 AM
thank you for sharing that. i never knew that.
10-26-2004, 07:18 AM
If this was for real *677 you would think the phone companies would tell you about it. I wonder if this is really true.
I suggest you read this as an explantion to this story.
Theres enough crap posted and sent on the internet that we all must be carefull about what we pass on as being truthful. Granted that this particular story hasn't proven or disproved as of yet, one must be cautious of it implications.
The Knockoff Pullover
Claim: College student who by dialing #77 on her cell phone evades a rapist pretending to be a police officer.
Status: Multiple — see below.
Co-ed named Lauren evades rapist who had been masquerading as a police officer: Undetermined.
Rapists and murderers have been known to pass themselves off as police officers: True.
Dialing #77 on your cell phone will connect you with the highway patrol: True in some states, False in others.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
This is an actual true story and not one of those Internet stories that are passed on and on. This actually happened to one of my dearest new friend's daughter. Her daughter, Lauren, is 19 yrs. old and a sophomore in college. This happened to her over the Christmas/New Year's holiday break.
It was the Saturday before New Year's and it was about 1 pm in the afternoon. Lauren was driving from here (Winchester, Va.) to visit a friend in Warrenton. For those of you who are familiar with the area, she was taking Rt. 50 East towards Middleburg and then was going to cut over to I-66 via Rt. 17. Those of you who aren't familiar with this area, Rt. 50 East is a main road (55 mph and two lanes each side with a big median separating East/West lanes), but is somewhat secluded, known for it's big horse farms and beautiful country estates.
Lauren was actually following behind a state police car shortly after she left Winchester and was going just over 65 mph since she was following behind him. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. My friend and her husband have 4 children (high school and college age) and have always told them never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather wait until they get to a gas station, etc. So Lauren actually listened to her parents advice, and promptly called #77 on her cell phone to tell the dispatcher that she would not pull over right away.
She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there were 2 police cars, one unmarked behind her and one marked in front of her. The dispatcher checked to confirm that there were 2 police cars where she was. There wasn't and she was connected to the policeman in front of her. He told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back-up already on the way.
Ten minutes later, 4 police cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground ... the man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes. Thank God Lauren listened to her parents! She was shaken up, but fine.
I never knew that bit of advice, but especially for a woman alone in a car, you should NEVER pull over for an unmarked car in a secluded area. In fact, even a marked car after dark should follow you to a populated area. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a "safe" place. You obviously need to make some signals that you acknowledge them (i.e. put on your hazard lights) or call #77 like Lauren did.
I am so thankful that my friend was sitting at our book club meeting telling us this scary story, rather than us at her house consoling her had something tragic occurred!
Be safe and pass this on to your friends. Awareness is everything!
A March 2002 version changes the girl's name from Lauren to Lisa.
An October 2003 version moves the action to Australia. Once again, 19-year-old Lauren barely escapes disaster, but does so this time by using the "No. 112 feature" on her cell phone to summon help.
A July 2004 version shifted the story to Canada. Yet again, 19-year-old Lauren barely escapes disaster, but in this instance she does so by dialing *677. (The number *677, aka *OPP, is the non-emergency cell caller line of the Ontario Provincial Police.)
Origins: We have no way of telling if this is an "actual true story and not one of those Internet stories that are passed on and on": the details given in the account aren't sufficient to assist us in confirming the tale, and searches through online news databases based on what little is included (that the incident happened in Virginia in the last week of December 2001) don't fetch any articles about an arrest made or charges laid in such a case. And some of the details in the story give us pause: Why didn't the fleeing woman speed up, flash her lights, or honk her horn to attract the attention of the police car in front of her? And how did the real police car fail to notice the warning lights of the phony, unmarked police car?
Whether this particular tale is true or not, women driving alone have been sexually assaulted by rapists pretending to be patrolmen (and in certain rare cases by actual police officers), so the advice it gives about not pulling over in deserted areas when signaled to do so by unmarked police vehicles is well worth heeding. Throw on your flashers, slow down, and keep driving until you get to a well-lit area where there are others about. Though you might subsequently be charged for failing to heed a police officer's commands, you will avoid the potential for harm. Call 911 and tell them what's happening, asking them to relay to the officer in pursuit your intent to continue traveling until a populated has been reached. (Although in some U.S. states, #77 on a cell phone will immediately connect you to that state's highway patrol, that code is not universal. Some states use #77, but others use *55, *47, or *HP, and some don't have any special code at all. Rather than frantically try to figure out which one will work in the area you're in, get around the problem by going straight to 911.)
Police advise motorists to immediately pull over when signaled to do so, suggesting those concerned about their safety keep their doors locked and crack their windows to speak with those presenting themselves as officers of the law. They suggest sidelined drivers who are suspicious of their detainers demand to examine the officers' photo IDs and ask where they work, then place calls to 911 to verify their identities. While this would certainly be the right way to handle genuine police officers making bona fide traffic stops, this method fails to protect motorists from the ill-intentioned. The real bad guys carry guns, so locked car doors and cracked windows would avail little by way of protection.
The instance of rapists and murderers pretending to be police officers is not of epidemic proportions, but enough incidents of this nature have occurred that precautions are warranted.
In 1948 in Los Angeles, Caryl Chessman successfully robbed couples and sexually assaulted a number of women in California after first fooling them into believing he was a police officer by flashing a red light at their vehicles. (Though often he approached parked cars this way, in at least one case he managed to pull over a car that was driving on Pacific Coast Highway.) His method of approach earned him the nickname of "The Red Light Bandit." Chessman was executed on a kidnapping charge in 1960, but only after gaining fame for writing three books while in prison (most notably Cell 2455 Death Row) and becoming the focus of the then nascent movement to abolish the death penalty.
Since then others have used similar ruses to isolate their victims. More recently, in 1997 Arkansas was plagued by its "blue light rapist" who assaulted three women after first luring them to the side of the road with the help of a police-style blue light mounted on his car. Robert Todd Burmingham was sentenced in 1998 to 80 years in prison for rape, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery.
In 2000, a Tampa woman was sexually assaulted by a man who had put a flashing blue and red light atop his car and motioned her off the road as if he was a police officer. After she admitted she had been drinking, he offered to drive her home; she got into his car, and he took her to an isolated location where he raped her. That case is still open.
Someone who has taken to impersonating a police officer for nefarious purposes is counting upon his intended victim's unquestioning cooperation. Because he appears in the guise of a trusted authority figure whose commands must be obeyed, he expects automatic reaction to kick in even if it overrides common sense. That could prove a fatal error to make.
In 1996 Governor Pataki of New York issued an executive order to prevent unmarked state police cars from stopping motorists for routine traffic violations, citing "a growing number of cases around the country in which criminals trap their victims by posing as police officers." If he's worried about it, you should be too.
Barbara "worry thwart" Mikkelson
Last updated: 12 October 2004
10-26-2004, 07:49 PM
To let you guys know, this only works in Canada. And why would you call *677 instead of 911? If you ever have any doubt call 911. You cannot get in trouble for doing so.
Dial 911 if any doubts arise.
10-26-2004, 07:50 PM
Hopefully you will edit (not delete, because the moral of the story is great) your post so no accidents arise form it =]
10-30-2004, 11:14 AM
Thank you. I just forwarded this to my wife's email at work.
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