Daytime Robbery Hoax

Daytime Robbery Hoax

E-mail Worries Residents

When Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) received an e-mail about a daytime robbery in Sterling Park, he began making phone calls. There was one problem, no one heard of it.

The subject line, "Robbery at Sterling Park McDonald’s Monday at 12:45 p.m.," startled the Sterling official.

"Any daytime robbery is a big deal," he said. "It is very serious."

The e-mail claimed "two Hispanic guys with knives and a bat" robbed two women and harrassed one man in a McDonald’s parking lot on Sterling Boulevard.

Delgaudio immediately called the Sheriff’s Office to confirm reports of the burglary.

"Nobody heard of it," Delgaudio said.

Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kraig Troxell said there are no police records of the crime.

WHEN JOSEPH BUDZINSKI, a member of HelpSaveLouduon, got wind of the e-mail, and he was concerned.

HelpSaveLoudoun is a grassroots organization formed to protect the community and address local issues.

"It was a compelling e-mail," Budzinski said.

The Sterling resident said he didn’t know what to make of the false accusations.

"I didn’t think twice about whether it was true or not."

Troxell said the e-mail was probably a "hoax."

LAURA VALLE, president of La Voz, a Hispanic community-based outreach group, said rumors that target a specific ethnic group are damaging to the immigrant population.

When rumors spread around the community, it creates a fear that runs through the Hispanic community, Valle said.

"People won’t come out," she said. "Documented or undocumented. They fear they will be discriminated against."

Delgaudio said he has checked with authorities several times and there are no reports of a day-time robbery at McDonald’s on Sterling Boulevard this week, last week, or in the past several months.

"It’s a hoax," Delgaudio said. "That’s all it is."