Teens’ kidnapping story flunks cops’ smell test | PostIndependent.com

Teens’ kidnapping story flunks cops’ smell test

A made-up report of a teenage girl’s kidnapping had police throughout Garfield County scrambling Monday to find a vehicle and suspects that didn’t exist.

The report came in around 5 p.m. Monday. A juvenile girl called Glenwood Springs police to report that her friend was kidnapped from a phone booth somewhere in the city.

The girl who reported the fake crime said she looked away for a few moments, then when she turned around all she found was a payphone swinging on its cord, but her friend was gone.

“It was two teenage girls on a weekend furlough from a rehab center in Denver,” Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson said. “They were returning there when they decided, `Why go back?'”

The two girls were headed east to Denver on a Greyhound bus when they got off in Glenwood Springs and decided to bolt, Wilson said.

The girls apparently wanted their parents and the rehab center personnel to think one of the girls was kidnapped, giving them an excuse to not show up to the center, Wilson said.

Soon after the call, police agencies throughout the area were given an all-points bulletin describing the possible kidnapping of a Latina teen from a phone booth. The supposed suspects were described as tall Hispanic males – one with long hair – driving a blue Ford Bronco or a Chevrolet Blazer.

At first, Wilson said, the story sounded legitimate. But as time passed and the girl who supposedly was kidnapped kept calling her friend and giving more information, police began to get suspicious.

“As it went deeper, it developed a distinct odor,” Wilson said of the story.

One detail that aroused those suspicions was when police were told that the abductors made it from Glenwood Springs to Grand Junction in just 35 minutes.

“We thought this was a little bit unlikely,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s investigators also thought it was unlikely that the abductors would let the kidnapped girl use her cell phone to provide further details about the situation.

“We thought, `These were some pretty decent kidnappers,'” Wilson joked. “They gave the girl potty breaks and let her use her cell phone.”

Around 6:30 p.m., police uncovered the hoax when they found the girl who originally phoned in the kidnapping. As it turned out, they found both girls and brought them to the police department.

Instead of charging the already-troubled juveniles with false reporting, police decided to wait for someone from the rehab center to drive up get the girls.

“We decided it was better to get them on their way to the center,” Wilson said.

Before letting the girls go, however, Wilson said they were lectured about the possible consequences of making such a serious false report.

“We told them you can cause someone to be drawn out of a car at gunpoint,” Wilson said. “It could have had an awful lot of potentially deadly impacts.”

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