Highway Patrol Mistakenly Sends Out Batman-Themed Emergency Alert: 'Joker At Large'

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been ridiculed after it mistakenly sent out a Batman-themed emergency alert warning that goons associated with the D.C. villain the Joker were at large.

Cell phones across Missouri pinged on Tuesday afternoon with an MSHP message that the Joker's crew was being sought in the state.

The message read: "Gotham City MO purple/ green 1978 Dodge 3700GT MO UKIDME."

Fans of the Caped Crusader would quickly identify the car as the one used by the Joker's crew in the 1989 film Batman, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

Thankfully, Missouri residents did not have to worry their state had become a haven for supervillains, with the MSHP quickly admitting it had sent out the message in error.

In a Tuesday news release, an MSHP spokesperson said: "Today, a routine test of Missouri's Blue Alert system was inadvertently sent to wireless devices statewide.

"The Patrol regularly tests the Blue Alert system to ensure it works properly when needed. 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.

Twitter users flooded the MSHP Twitter page with comments lampooning the organization for the error.

One commenter, who shared a picture of Jack Nicholson as the Joker, said: "Police have released a photo of the person they believe to be responsible."

Another said: "Is the Joker at large, yes or no? What is Commissioner Gordon doing to make sure this won't happen again?"

A third appeared to be disappointed the alert was not real and commented: "I guess I can put the batmobile back in the garage then."

Others did not find anything funny about the mishap.

Matt Flener, a reporter at ABC affiliate KMBC-TV, tweeted: "How and why did this happen? This seems like a major error, especially at a time of heightened alert. Who should be held accountable for this?"

Newsweek has contacted the MSHP for comment.

According to ABC18 News, public safety agencies issue blue alerts when a law enforcement officer has been killed, hurt or is in danger and a suspect is on the run.

Although these incidents are rare, there have been instances when emergency messages sent in error have caused great alarm.

In January 2018, a missile warning was sent by mistake, sparking panic that North Korea had launched a weapon at the U.S.

The warning, sent to cell phones and broadcast stations, came at the height of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

man dressed as Batman and emergency message
Man dressed as Batman and stock image of a mobile phone. The (unintentionally funny) alert was sent out to people in Missouri. Getty/ MSHP