News On 6 Special Hidden Camera Investigation: Would You Go With A Stranger?
Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Most women think they're pretty careful when it comes to personal and parking lot safety, but how vulnerable are we really?
Women who thought they could never be lured by a strange man went willingly when News On 6 put them to the test.
News On 6 outfitted Sergeant Shannon Clark with a diaper bag and a sack containing a skirt, along with a hidden microphone, while News On 6 Photojournalist Oscar Pea and crime reporter Lori Fullbright hid inside an SUV.
"Can I ask you a favor?" Sergeant Clark asked a woman. "I need to return this for my wife, but, my baby is asleep in the car and I hate to leave him out there, so will you come stand by my car and watch him for me?"
Hannah walked all the way to the vehicle. She said she went because of the baby.
Hannah: "I was really, honestly, thinking about the baby, about it being unsafe for the baby."
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "You never thought of your own personal safety?"
Hannah was young, so we wondered if an older woman might be more suspicious.
"Hey ma'am, could you do me a favor?" Sergeant Clark asked another woman. "My baby is asleep in the car and I have to return this for my wife. Could you come to the car and watch him? It's this one right here. It'll just take but a second."
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "Can we just ask you why you came into a parking lot with a man you don't know today?"
Pat: "Because he said there was a sleeping child in the car."
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "It touched your heart, didn't it?"
Pat said she worries about safety and had a funny feeling when he first approached her, but went anyway.
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "On the time out here, did you ever think, this might be dangerous?"
Woman after woman said they thought the situation was weird, but went anyway, partly because Sergeant Clark looked like a nice man, but mostly, the baby.
Lori Fullbright, News On 6:"What would you have done if you'd gotten to the car and he grabbed you or something?"
Diana: "Oh my God."
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "Did you even think about that?"
Diana: "I thought about that but I wasn't going to go to close though."
Even Sergeant Clark was shocked at how many women went and how quickly they agreed, in this day of kidnappings and sexual predators.
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "It would be nothing, do you think for a bad guy to come up with a diaper bag and story about a baby?"
Sergeant Clark: "That's the simplest thing. Predators look at things to entice who they're after."
Another woman, Mechelle, said she thought maybe she shouldn't go, but believed she can handle herself.
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "What would you have done if he would've grabbed you?"
Mechelle: "Probably would've fought for my life."
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "Good, good for you."
Another woman, Sanjuna, said she felt safe because she had her phone in her hand.
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "You were a little nervous?"
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "Did you think this could lead to a kidnapping?"
Sanjuna: "That's why I always have my speed dial on."
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "For 911?"
Finally, for the woman who said no, the more Sergeant Clark talked, the further away she got.
"My kids asleep in that SUV, could you watch him for me?" he said. "It will only take a minute. I don't want to wake him up and bring him inside, but, I need to return this dress for my wife and I'm running out of time. It'll only take a couple of minutes. I'd really appreciate it. Okay, that's understandable, thanks though."
Although she didn't want to go on camera, she told me she refused him because something just didn't feel right.
"Always, always follow your sixth sense," Sergeant Clark said.
The lesson is there is always a way to help, but also stay safe. These women could've said, "Bring the baby to me and I'll watch him," or "Let me get someone from the store to come with me."
Not one woman asked him, "Why are you coming to the car with me?" As soon as they agreed to watch the baby, he should've gone into the store to make his return.
Criminals can look and sound nice and think nothing of taking advantage of our kind nature.
News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright appeared on Six in The Morning Friday, May 20, 2011, with more safety tips every woman should know.