Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- A silent epidemic is causing anxiety, changes in people's lifestyle, and in some cases, a loss of business.
The epidemic is misguided or unconfirmed emails, and lately Montgomery police have gotten dozens of notes claiming people have suffered from gang related beatings to armed robberies.
None of the emails have proved true.
MPD spokesman Captain Huey Thornton says he's seen them all.
He says, "There was some mention of rapes and even assaults and things of that nature," and because the emailers claim a crime has happened, police are forced to check them out.
Thornton says, "[It takes] a tremendous amount of manpower in order to do that, manpower that could have been used to provide preventative patrols or investigate legitimate crimes."
One recent email contained accurate information about two crimes against women, one at Eastdale Mall, another near a local grocery store. Police arrested two suspects in that case.
As for the others Thornton explains, "Forr the most part they turned out to be a hoax or embellished quite a bit. One we looked into has even generated a page on the internet site snopes.com, which debunks urban legends."