KEY POINTS

  • The emergency text alert was a routine test of Missouri's Blue Alert system
  • The car description on the text matched the vehicle used by Joker in a Batman movie
  • A second text was sent out by the highway patrol to rectify the mistake

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has reassured the public the Batman villain, Joker, was not rampaging through the state after accidentally sending out a statewide cellphone alert.

An emergency alert sent to the cellphones of Missouri citizens Tuesday asked residents to keep a lookout for a purple and green 1978 Dodge 3700GT.

The message suggested the Gotham City authorities were looking for the car with license plate number "UKIDME." The description of the car shared in the text was similar to the vehicle used by Jack Nicholson’s Joker character in the 1989 Batman movie, CNN reported.

The warning was quickly corrected as the agency sent out a second alert disregarding the first one, Associated Press reported.

"This was meant to be a test message, THERE WAS NO ALERT," the highway patrol agency said in a tweet. The agency explained the message was "a routine test of Missouri's Blue Alert system."

The Blue Alert system was designed to spread information quickly about violent criminals "who have killed, or seriously injured an officer in the line of duty."

But the test did not go well with some residents and social media. Some took to Twitter to say that the alert could have triggered parents, who have experienced their children being taken.

"The fact that @MSHPTrooperGHQ would claim this was a test, is much more offensive than the actual message," one Twitter user wrote. "Any test of any emergency system I have ever seen always makes the fact that it's a test extremely clear."

The  agency clarified they "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," the agency wrote in a statement.

Similar errors in test emergency alerts by public agencies have caused citizens concerns.

Hawaii's residents and tourists rushed to take covers in 2018 after a statewide text warning of an incoming ballistic missile was sent out. The warning turned out to be a false alarm as an employee with Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency had mistakenly pushed the wrong button.

Last year, a similar mishap occurred in Chile after authorities mistakenly sent out a tsunami warning following an earthquake.

A steady stream of emergency alerts and grim news has prompted some people to seek out uplifting stories Emergency Alert Text | Representational Image Photo: AFP / Olivier DOULIERY