CIRCLEVILLE - The 19-year-old who claimed abduction and car theft by a man impersonating a police officer has now been charged with filing a false police report in the incident.
Madison K. Stacey, 19, is being held in the Pickaway County Jail pending an initial hearing in Circleville Municipal Court. She is charged with falsification with the purpose to mislead a public official.
"We noted several inconsistencies in her story, and after further investigation, she is charged with raising a false alarm by making a false police report," said Deputy Dale Parish, Pickaway County Sheriff's Office.
Parish said investigators believe Stacey was simply seeking attention with the false claim.
Sheriff Robert Radcliff said it was unfortunate the public was caused unnecessary panic, but all reports are taken seriously by investigators until they are proven otherwise.
Parish said the Pickaway County Sheriff's Office had six officers involved in the initial reporting and several detectives doing follow-up work, processing her car, etc., over a period of two days.
Though they noticed inconsistencies early on, investigators worked diligently to discover the truth, he said.
"You always have to look at these things as very serious, because they do happen," Parish said. "We have had more than one over the years that were legitimate, and we cannot afford to take the risk of not giving them our full tilt and going the whole nine yards on the investigation. You don't know what kind of person it is or what may escalate the next time they stop somebody."
Stacey claimed she was pulled over by two men in a small black or dark-colored Ford sedan early Monday morning at state Route 207 and Mouser Road. She said one of the men approached her vehicle pretending to be an officer and ultimately placed her in the back seat of the unmarked vehicle, while the other man took possession of her car. She told officers the man started driving, but she became suspicious and managed to escape when the vehicle stopped at an intersection.
Three earlier reports of a man impersonating a police officer are still being investigated by the Circleville Police Department, as well as one earlier this month in Ross County. At this time, those reports are still considered legitimate incidents and are unrelated to Stacey's false claim.
"The bottom line is, if anyone in an unmarked vehicle attempts to stop you, call 911 immediately or go to the nearest police station," Parish said. "If it's a legitimate cop, and you're taking them right back to the police station, they're not going to care. A bogus cop is not going to follow you there."