Hatcher Kai, Cleveland abductions - How safe is hitchhiking? - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Hatcher Kai, Cleveland abductions - How safe is hitchhiking?

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For many of us, it's not uncommon to see hitchhiker's on our commutes. You've probably heard the advice to not accept rides from strangers.

59 News found out how dangerous hitchhiking is right here in Southern West Virginia. Most people on Friday told us it's common sense to not pick up a hitchhiker, but it can be just as dangerous to be a hitchhiker, and accept a ride with a stranger.

"He's picked up several hitchhikers, not while I'm in the car, but he has picked them up. So are you just a good Samaritan? I suppose, either that or stupid," joked travelers Judy and Lynn Summers.

"I never have picked up a hitchhiker and I caution my daughter about that as well. There's other ways to get rides, do not do it. It's sad you can't trust anybody, but you shouldn't," cautioned traveler Arlene Gardinier.

59 News ran into two girls backpacking, about to hitchhike to Oak Hill, but after we told them about the Cleveland abductions, they said instead they're going to catch a taxi.

"I always feel really safe hitchhiking in New Zealand because the people are so friendly. I always hitchhike with a friend of mine so we always stay together and it's safer to not hitchhike alone," said Anja Koehler, hitchhiker from Germany.

Raleigh County Investigator Jeff Shumate said you can't judge a book by it's cover and it's better to be safe than sorry.

"Unless it's someone that you know, you should always be careful and cautious. You should always take into consideration what possibly could happen, when you have someone in your vehicle that you don't know or you get in a vehicle that you don't know," Shumate advised.

According to Beckley Police, it is illegal to hitchhike, although it is not against the law to pick up a hitchhiker.