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Police: Gang initiation threat rumor just a hoax
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      No need to panic - according to local police, there is no gang initiation planned at Statesboro's Wal-Mart.
       Or at any other Wal-Mart, said Statesboro Police Chief Stan York. Apparently a prank text has spread like wildfire warning people to stay away from the retail store because gang members plan to kill people as part of an initiation requirement, he said.
       The text has spread from Tennessee to several other states across the nation, according to Internet web site, which debunks - or substantiates - rumors and urban legends.
       Several citizens in the area called the Statesboro Herald, the Statesboro Police Department and Wal-Mart Tuesday and Wednesday after receiving a text that read: "DO NOT GO TO WAL-MART TODAY OR 2MORROW. There is supposes to be some kind of gang initiation to kill 3 men and 3 women. Forward to friends."
       Several variations of the prank text were listed on the Snopes site. The direct link is, said Statesboro Police Capt. Scott Brunson.
       Brunson contacted Wal-Mart's corporate office after the police department, local news media and the Statesboro store itself were flooded with calls from worried would-be shoppers. Wal-Mart corporate officials assured him the text was a prank and directed him to the Snopes site, he said.
       "Nothing has been substantiated," York said.
       Statesboro Police "have been addressing issues" regarding gang activity, including a recent shooting where suspects were charged with participation in criminal street gang activity, among other crimes, he said.
       Investigating suspected street gang activity is an ongoing thing, he said. "Every now and then you are going to have an incident where folks come together" and associate with others who call themselves " a gang," he said.
       Wally Lee, co-manager of the Statesboro Wal-Mart, also said Wednesday night the rumor was false. He said he does not yet know whether the text had affected the store's business.

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