'Don't approach': Sinister theory behind item tied to car door handle

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

A series of TikTok videos have exposed a common tactic used by criminals to target their next victim.

TikTok user Reece responded to a video shared by another user, Shannon, who was left shaken after spotting string tied around two separate car door handles in a US parking lot.

In the video that has been viewed over 20 million times, Shannon, who goes by the handle @ice.lemon.water, is filming from inside her car when she spots the string.

“WTF is this a joke? Somebody better not get kidnapped,” she wrote in the video.

After spotting a second car with the same string on the door handle she leaves in a hurry.

“We found a second one. I’m getting out of here.”

two cars with ribbon or string tied around the door handle
In a TikTok video a woman is filming from inside her car when she spots the string tied around two different cars and claims it could be a tactic used by criminals. Source: TikTok/ice.lemon.water

'Oldest tricks in the book'

Reece, who uses @achunkyguy on TikTok, described the tactic as “one of the oldest tricks in the book.”

“If you ever see this on your car, do not approach it, I can’t stress this enough,” he said.

Reece claimed that while “it can come in all different forms”, wire is commonly used to wrap around door handles as it takes longer to remove and distracts the target for a longer period of time.

“Tactics like this are being used in the US prominently but in the UK as well, where people will put stuff on your car to distract you for that split second, so they can grab you before you get into your car,” Reece claimed.

The TikTok user also said other items can be used such as things slipped under windscreen wipers and items placed on the bonnet.

Earlier this year a woman found herself in a similar situation after being followed by a man. She returned to her car to find a water bottle placed on the bonnet.

From inside her car, Haley, who uses the handle @haleywestco, shared the incident that left her “shaking”.

She explained to her followers that she noticed the man staring at her as she left the supermarket in Ohio and claimed he then tried to lure her to her own car, pretending it was his.

“This guy was walking like kind of close to me, kind of not, but you could tell he was staring at me while he was walking, and he yells over to me like, 'Hey what's your name?'

"This man walks right up to my car and he's like, 'Come check out my car, it's nice, it's a Lexus, you like it?'"

Haley said she ignored the man and tried her best not to react.

"Though, I didn't react to that, because that would have given away that it's my car, although I think he already knows.”

a woman returned to her car after being followed by a man to find a water bottle placed on the bonnet
Haley was left shaken aftyer being followed by a man, she returned to her car to find a water bottle placed on the bonnet. Source: TikTok/haleywestco

'Be careful out there'

Haley explained that she went into a store to ask for somebody to escort her to her car but when she returned she spotted the water bottle on her bonnet.

"I don't want that to correlate but that's never happened to me. I just wanted to say be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially if you're a woman, be careful out there," she warned.

Reece cautioned viewers who spot the trick to follow in Hayley’s footsteps and ask for help.

"The best thing you can do in that situation is go back to wherever you were that was the most populated and grab somebody to escort you to your car. And best case scenario, multiple people."

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