It’s right up there with Mothman and Bigfoot.

This one can be chalked up to an urban legend.  In other words, it’s probably not true.  The story is making the rounds across the country.  Women are being told not to park near white vans in parking lots.  According to the warning, they’re then being kidnapped by men, who toss them into the vans and then speed away.

If it’s dark, park near lights.  If you’re alone, consider self-defense.

The women then find themselves being sold as sex-slaves.

Frightening, yes, but there isn’t any serious evidence backing up the story, although.  Some local governments have issued cautions, just to be on the safe side.  CNN has details at this link.

I’m not trying to diminish any potential threat.  Women and children are sometimes snatched off the streets.  Sometimes by people in vans, cars and trucks.  And assuredly, some of the vehicles have been white.  So, often these urban legends have a kernel of truth but there isn’t any nationwide gang of cutthroat slavers operating across the country.

Take the usual steps you always take when shopping.  If it’s dark, park near lights.  If you’re alone, consider self-defense.  Pepper spray or firearms training may be options for some.  Know the type of neighborhood you’re going to before you park there.  These are the types of steps always emphasized this time of year when, often, the threat isn’t abduction but theft.  Christmas shoppers are often overloaded with goods and often with cash.

Better, take along another adult if you can or even do your business in larger groups.  And let people know where you’re going and when you plan to come home.