Citing the Finnish newspaper Aamulehti, Agence France Presse reported Monday that the SOS message had been scrawled in Swedish onto the inside of the carton. The note read, "This is an SOS message from the prisoners of Berga. We are raped and beaten every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday."
While the message was dated April 5, these kinds of doorknobs have apparently not been delivered to that store since 2007, making the plea – if it is indeed one – some four years old.
Officials at a prison in the Berga neighborhood in southern Sweden denied knowledge of such abuses to AFP.
The local Finnish police chief told the Aamulehti newspaper that he suspected the message was a "bad joke".