An emergency alert mistakenly pushed out to cellphones on Tuesday afternoon by the Missouri State Highway Patrol was a test gone wrong, according to the agency.
Around 5 p.m. cellphones pinged in the state alerting residents to a purple or green 1978 Dodge 3700GT with Missouri license plates sought out of Gotham City, Missouri. There is no such place — Gotham City is the setting of the DC Comics franchise “Batman.”
In a follow-up, the agency issued a second alert around 5:22 p.m. saying the first one was a fake. The highway patrol also said on Twitter: “THERE WAS NO ALERT.”
This was meant to be a test message, THERE WAS NO ALERT. pic.twitter.com/VZMfEHI28c
— MSHP General HQ (@MSHPTrooperGHQ) January 18, 2022
In a statement later Tuesday evening, the patrol said the alert had gone statewide. It was inadvertently sent during a test of the Blue Alert system, which is regularly measured to ensure proper performance in times of emergency, according to a news release.
“During the test, an option was incorrectly selected, allowing the message to be disseminated to the public. There is no Emergency Alert at this time. The Patrol appreciates the public’s understanding and support of the Emergency Alert program,” the statement said.
Reactions were swift on social media as observers pointed to the obvious Batman reference in jest. One pointed out that the car listed in the alert was the same driven by Batman’s nemesis Joker in the 1989 film.
“The Joker is 100% on the loose in Kansas City,” one user wrote.
“Someone tell the Batman,” said another.
The Joker is 100% on the loose in Kansas City. https://t.co/aKoX0CZCDy
— The Angela of Our Discontent (@byzplease) January 18, 2022
— Joshua Brisco (@jbbrisco) January 18, 2022