SHALLOTTE -- Rumors about gang initiation rituals that target women are circulating in Columbus and Brunswick Counties. Every person NewsChannel 3 asked told a different version of this rumored ritual. The basic premise is that gang initiates need to kidnap and harm a single white woman in a parking lot or gas station in order to become members. Law enforcement officials in Columbus County called this an urban legend. They said the rumors about such incidents have been flying around their area for the past two years. They said they've never responded to such a call. On the other hand, law enforcement officials in Shallotte said that Columbus County advised them to keep an eye on their Wal-Marts. Police Chief Rodney Gause says he's not taking the concerns lightly. "At this point in time what we've received is rumor, but we are stepping up in all our parking lots in all our businesses, especially Wal-Mart, Belks and some other stores. But the only thing we've done is step up high visibility, making sure we're walking employees from the store to their vehicles at night, and patrolling the parking lot." Gause says he's not too worried about the rumors -- but it's better to be safe than sorry. The popular urban legend web site snopes.com notes a similar ritual known as Wal-Martyred. It applies to gang initiates in the Memphis area killing a woman and small child at a Wal-Mart. Snopes.com says the rumor that such a thing happens is false.
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