"It's very frustrating," said Sgt. Lynn Beard with the Abilene Police Department. "People get scared, they see it, they believe it, they want us to do something about it, when, in reality, there's no credibility to the threat at all."
Police across the country today said the rumors that gang initiates are required to kill or assault women in the parking lot are just an urban legend.
Even though police have tried to assure people that it's not true, many people aren't buying the urban legend explanation and are staying away from Wal-Mart.
There is no increased security at Wal-Mart at this time, Beard said.
"In this case this is just a plain hoax."
Wal-Mart's corporate office gave this statement to FOX 16 in Arkansas:
"The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority. We are aware of the message being circulated and are working with local authorities to enhance our security efforts at our stores in the area. While we take these types of situations seriously, we regard this as being only a rumor, much like similar rumors that have circulated via e-mail in previous years."
The rumor actually has its roots in an e-mail hoax that has been floating around for several years. It originated in 2005 in the Memphis area, according to Snopes.com, a Web site on urban legends.
E-mails circulated, warning of deadly gang initiations involving the killing of women and children who were shopping at Walmart.
But no such slayings were ever reported, Snopes reports.
But, like the e-mails telling of gang initiations the involve the killing of drivers who flash their headlights at oncoming cars or the dire warnings a couple of years ago how new gang members are knocking on doors and killing whoever answers, the rumor just keeps on trucking.
Over the year, it has circulated with variations and "new" details, as such e-mail hoaxes tend to do.
E-mails and text messages have also recently circulated in Georgia, where police deemed it "not credible," WCTV-TV reported.