Even though a car is part of your personal property, it often spends a lot of time in very public places. Therefore, it is not uncommon to come back to your vehicle and find something on or around the vehicle. On the best days, there might be a flyer under your wiper. On bad days, a parking ticket can look at you from your windshield when you return. Most car owners simply remove the item from their vehicle and hit the road. But police are now warning that if you see one thing on your car, don’t “remove it with your bare hand.” Read on to see which law enforcement officers want you not to touch.
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In addition to actively enforcing the law, the police can also act as an alert system to the public when they spot new forms of crime, including car-related problems. Recently, authorities in Arlington, Virginia warned the public that there was an increase in theft airbag driver’s side Targeting Honda Civics specifically in late spring, followed by reports of a series of robberies in nearby Fairfax and Loudon counties, CBS affiliate WUSA9 reported. Weeks later, police in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley issued a similar warning about thefts in their area. The morning call reported. As a result, authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland advised residents to park in well-lit areas and lock their vehicles, remove all valuables and install a steering wheel lock.
On Aug. 12, Memphis, Tennessee, police warned residents that car thieves had been given a new tool to see inside your vehicle: smartphone cameras. The latest trick allows criminals to surpass the privacy tint used in many cars and get a clear view without even having to take a photo, CBS affiliate WREG reported. Authorities used the warning to remind the public of the ongoing “Stow It, Don’t Show It Memphis” initiative, which is urging car owners to remove all valuables before they leave or at least hide them out of sight.
But now authorities say the public should be aware of a new type of vehicular threat.
Whether it’s trash, leaves or flyers, it’s normal to take something out of your car that doesn’t belong there before you drive off. But now police in Louisiana’s Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office are warning the public to avoid touching foreign objects left on their car, even if they look like regular litter or trash.
“If you are on the road and experience something about your vehicle that was not there before, do not remove it with your bare hand. Be careful,” authorities wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 23.
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Authorities say the warning comes after an incident last week in Houston, Texas. After celebrating her birthday at a local restaurant, Erin Mims says she was about to get back into her car when she saw a napkin tucked into the door handle of her car. Without thinking much about it, deleted the trash before I realized something strange about the situation, The daily email reports.
“When my husband answered the phone, I asked him, ‘Did you put a napkin in my door?’ and he was like ‘no’,” she said. “I went in, washed my hands, and maybe two minutes later my fingertips started to tingle.”
Mims says it was then that her symptoms got much worse. “After five minutes my whole arm started to tingle, then it started to go numb, I got lightheaded, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, [and] it got hot. It was just a lot of different feelings at once. I started to panic,” she told The daily email.
After her husband called 911, Mims was rushed to the hospital, where doctors tried to determine what was causing the sudden health problem. “I was there for about six and a half hours,” Mims explained. “The doctor said I had acute poisoning from an unknown substance. I didn’t have enough of it in my system to determine what it was, but that small amount made me confused. So imagine if I wrapped with my whole hand I probably could have been dead.”
Fortunately, Mims was able to make a full recovery, although the medical team treating her struggles with questions about what may have happened. However, her doctor speculates that the napkin incident was a… attempted kidnapping focused on her car, The New York Post reports.
According to Houston Police, the public has not reported any other similar incidents involving a car and a napkin or trash. But they did confirm that Mims’ experience and symptoms were consistent with other poisonings.
“Chances are you need to have a lot more than just an accidental exposure,” Mark Winterdirector of the Southeast Houston Poison Center, said: The mail. “In her video, her symptoms correspond to hundreds of different poisons. It’s possible. I’ve learned over my 40 years that anything is possible when it comes to the human body.”
Houston authorities have confirmed they are investigating the incident as a possible attack and ask anyone with information to contact them immediately, local NBC affiliate KPRC 2 reports. In addition, they urge anyone who feels they have been exposed to a toxic substance to “seek immediate medical attention or call 911, especially if they are having trouble breathing, restless, sleepy, or have seizures.”