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Modesto Vigilantes Attack Homeless Man After False Facebook Warning Goes Viral

MODESTO (CBS13) — A post on Facebook warning of a man trying to attack women in Modesto went viral, but Modesto Police say not only was the post not true, the man ended up becoming the victim of a crime himself.

The post was all over Facebook on Friday, complete with a description of the man, and where to find him. It didn't take long before police say a group of guys took the law into their own hands.

The post warns in all caps of a Modesto man trying to break into homes and assault women, urging people to share to save a woman's life.

"The whole area was in a panic, and my boyfriend was like, no you have to drive to work, and I'll pick you up," said Hope Davis.

Modesto Police spokeswoman Heather Graves says they were flooded with calls, but they had no reports of the man trying to physically harm anyone.

The police department sent a message on Twitter late on Friday saying "This post is false. Please share. We fear this man may become a victim." They also told the author to take her original post down.

"She was a friend of a friend of a friend who posted this information on Facebook," Graves said.

But, later that night, police say a group of vigilantes who had seen the post jumped him and assaulted him, making him the victim of a crime.

In a Facebook video, the man admits to asking people for money, insisting he didn't hurt anyone. But on the Modesto Police Facebook page, many claim to have had run-ins where he's made them uncomfortable or scared them.

Davis says the man knocked on her front door one afternoon asking to borrow blankets on a hot day.

"He just left," she said. "There was no aggression other than you know than the fact it was a little creepy."

Police say they do have reports of him verbally harassing people while panhandling and also have reports of him trying to open doors on private property. They say he's homeless and may have mental-health issues.

"We're all for warning others of crimes but you know we want the correct information to get out," Graves said.

The man decided not to press charges against his attackers, so police say they consider the case closed. Police say he had some minor cuts from the attack, adding he declined medical attention.

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