Was a gang of midgets arrested in Hagerstown, Maryland? No, that's not even a little bit true. The story about the tiny gang was copied by a new fake news website imitating the look and feel of NBC News and which is part of a larger network of similar sites. The story isn't remotely true.
The latest version originated from an article published on us-nbcnews.com (not the real nbcnews.com) somewhere in September 2018 where it was titled "Hagerstown, Maryland: Members of Midget Crime Gang Suspected of 55 Break-ins" (archived here). It opened:
Hagerstown, MD| Three members of the so-called Irish mob midgets, a Washington-based criminal organization composed of people of short stature, have been arrested this morning reports the Washington Post.
Security camera footage show the three suspects during a home break-in in which the intruders entered the house in Hagerstown through the pet door.
Authorities also believe the crime organization could be behind 55 other similar break-ins in the region.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Hagerstown, MD| Three members of the so-called Irish mob midgets, a Washington-based criminal organization composed of people of short stature, have been arrested this morning reports the Washington Post.Security camera footage show the three suspect
If the story sounds familiar, you would be right. Over a year ago Lead Stories debunked almost the exact same hoax but set in Boston:
Notorious fake/satire website World News Daily Report scored again with a hoax story titled: "BOSTON: MEMBERS OF MIDGET CRIME GANG SUSPECTED OF 55 BREAK-INS". The fake article opens: Boston, MA | Three members of the so-called 'Irish mob midgets', a Boston-based criminal organization composed of people of short stature, have been arrested this morning reports the Boston Chronicle.
The previous version of the hoax used the "Boston Chronicle" as the source, a defunct newspaper. The new version uses The Washington Post but as expected there is no story about a midget crime gang on their website.
The site us-nbcnews.com is the latest in a network of similar sites that have been posting copy-pasted fake news stories in the past few months:
Some of these sites are already defunct but if you search our archives you can find several hoaxes pushed on these websites. Don't fall for them!
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