May 26 • 06:11 AM

Alleged abduction a hoax

Police say no truth to boy's report that someone tried to snatch him after school

November 03, 2010
IMLAY CITY — The city's Instant Alert network was activated early Monday evening when a student reported a suspicious incident to police, but it turns out the report was a hoax, says Imlay City Police Lt. Roger Czap.

The alert indicated that police took a report from a male middle school student who indicated someone tried to abduct him in the 200 block of West First Street as he walked home from school on Monday afternoon.

Less than 24 hours later police were able to determine the story was not true, says Czap.

It began when the boy, accompanied by his mom and his cousins, came into the Imlay City Police Department to make the report.

Czap, who took the report and then called Officer DeLuca, says the boy indicated "a heavyset black male with grey hair" tried to force him into a "navy blue mini-van with chrome wheels and dark tinted windows."

The boy also told police the man appeared to be in his mid-30s, had a beard but no moustache and was balding.

Police alerted the school district and immediately began to investigate, Czap says.

The Instant Alert system was activated to make sure parents were aware that such an incident had been reported in an effort to ensure children's safety.

"Based on my conversation with Officer DeLuca I felt it was important to communicate the information to parents to keep our children as safe and secure as possible," Richards says.

After interviewing the boy, Czap says officers were able to determine that the story was not true. He says they've never had any run-ins with the boy and are stymied by his actions.

"We have no idea (why he made the report) and when asked he said he didn't have an answer," Czap says.

Once it was determined the report was false, school officials issued another Instant Alert to inform parents of the police findings.

"Although this incident turned out to be a hoax, it provides us with an excellent opportunity to talk with our children about proper safety and about the serious consequences of making false reports," Richard said in the updated alert. "The student in question faces potential criminal charges along with disciplinary consequences at school for his poor judgment and actions yesterday."

Richards went on to apologize for any disruption the false report caused.

"Please accept our deepest apologies for any inconvenience or unnecessary worry caused by this incident. As you know, a false report of this nature causes needless stress, aggravation, and disruption to our entire school community," the updated alert says. "While the threat turned out to be false, it is always prudent to err on the side of caution when human life is at stake. Thank you for supporting and helping us provide a safe and secure learning environment for our students and staff."

Czap says Imlay City police consider the case closed, and he's pleased that no one was hurt or in danger.

He adds that all complaints are pursued vigorously, but is disappointed that the boy filed a false report.

"I'm sorely disappointed in this result, and all the phone calls and problems it caused," Czap says. "We take all reported incidents seriously just on the chance there is some danger. That's why the school district issued the alert."

Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
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