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Robbery using a baby as a lure is not happening in Windhoek

Image Courtesy: WhatsApp / Namibia Fact Check

A viral crime scare message in Windhoek neighbourhood watch groups has been floating around social media for over a year.

The viral message that was forwarded to Namibia Fact Check in early August 2022 claims that a baby, wrapped in white cloth, and left in driveways was the latest trick used by robbers to lure home-owners outside in order to gain entry to properties to rob them. 

The message received via WhatsApp reads: 

“Hello all,  my family and I witnessed a scene from the  window around 1:30 am to 2:45 am today and I have decided to share so that we all keep guard.

Someone intentionally left a baby, wrapped in a white cloth right in front of our gate. The baby cried for over 30 minutes, and it stopped crying. A guy in black, hiding behind our wall, crawled to hit the baby again to cry. When they realized no one was coming out to check on the baby, he crawled to carry it off the road and in a few minutes, a taxi came and they went away.

We called the contact number of our neighbour, we asked if he had seen anything of that sort around his house and he informed us that, it’s a new strategy of armed robbers and that his elder brother was robbed last week using the same method.

Let’s all be guarded.

Pls, inform your friends and family, Thank you.

 May God continue to Guard and protect us all. Amen”

Namibia Fact Check could find no police alert about this sort of crime trend in Windhoek, or Namibia in general. 

Also, the message does not appear to have originated in Namibia, for the first online trace of the message is from a Nigerian website on 13 February 2021. It then seems to have made a turn in Malawian social media groups, according to this report, on 15 February 2021, and a Facebook group on the same date. The latest trace of the message, before its emergence in Namibian WhatsApp and chat groups, is on the Facebook page of a “Comedy club” with a Bahamas contact number on 13 July 2022. 

All that can be said about this viral post is that it did not originate in Namibia and has traveled quite a bit.   

While people should be alert to the tricks used by robbers and burglars, it is unhelpful to misinform and scaremonger about crime. 

False

The statements, information and/or data referenced in this article have been assessed and found to be false.

10th August 2022

Frederico Links

Frederico Links is the editor and lead researcher of Namibia Fact Check and a research associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)