Newport - A sheriff's office says a woman narrowly escaped being carjacked after spotting what she thought was a child sitting in the middle of the road in the dark of night.
It turned out to be a dummy, dressed in children's clothing. And as the woman slowed her car, two men wearing dark hoodies approached and pulled on her door handles.
She sped away and called for help as the suspects fled, according to the sheriff's office in Carteret County, North Carolina.
Maj. Jason Wank says authorities destroyed the dummy later Sunday, just in case. He's asking for help finding those responsible.
Earlier in 2016, Arrive Alive reported on several startling stories of hijackers adopting a similar tactic to prey on South African motorists.
A statement posted by Arrive Alive read: "We received some info of a possible body lying on the road near the R102.
Hijack doll in SA
"Please be vigilant and report any irregularities to the South African Police Service so that it can be checked out."
Preying on unsuspecting motorists
Johan Jonck, editor of Arrive Alive, said: "By law there is no legal obligation to stop and assist a road crash victim, unless you have been the driver causing the injury. It is, however, the kindness of the motoring public that motivates a driver to stop and assist.
"It is this kindness that's exploited by hijackers to take 'easy' possession of a motorists most likely to be unarmed and with his/her vehicle still running."
Jonck says criminals believe a 'kind-hearted motorist' stopping to assist could be less likely to offer physical resistance.
For more information on how to avoid possible hijackings, click here.
Jonck concludes: "We believe an informed road user is a more alert and cautious road user. We (Arrive Alive) will strive to keep our road users updated and informed of hijacking and other techniques used by criminals to take ownership of their vehicles."
Modus operandi used by hijackers
• Most hijackings take place in the driveways of residential areas.
• These hijackers prefer areas with accessible escape routes.
• Hijackings take place while stationed at any traffic sign or intersection.
• Hijackings take place while stationary next to the road, e.g. to answer cell phone.
• Hijackings also occur at post offices and parking areas or you may be followed leaving the filling station with the objective to hijack your vehicle where it is quiet.
• The hijackers sometimes use a vehicle to force the victim off the road.
• Hijackings take place at schools when dropping off / picking up children.
• Hijackings take place while the vehicle is idling when off-loading / loading passengers.
• Hijackings take place when advertising your vehicle for sale (Test drive method).
• Bogus Police or Traffic Officers also conduct hijackings (Blue light scenario).
The doll used by gang of hijackers in the US. Image: AP
When parking your vehicle
• Check your rear-view mirror to ensure you are not being followed.
• When exiting your vehicle, be cautious and aware of surrounding obstructions and shrubbery that may be concealing a hijacker.
• Never sit in your parked vehicle without being conscious of your surroundings. Sleeping in a stationary vehicle is particularly dangerous.
• When approaching your driveway, be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles/persons. This is very important as the majority of hijackers approach their victims in home driveways.
Wheels24 contacted City of Cape Town Alderman JP Smith regarding the hijacking doll. At the time he was unaware of this doll and said he would revert back to us with any information received on the matter.