Woman Gets 60 Days In Jail For Triggering Amber Alert After Reporting Fake Kidnapping
South L.A. resident Charline Gatson called in a carjacking on July 6, saying that an acquaintance had approached her with a gun and later took off with her vehicle. Gaston also said that a 16-year-old male—her stepson—was still in the car when it was taken. The report led to an Amber Alert that was issued statewide.
But that was all a hoax, authorities later said. On Friday, Gatson was sentenced to 60 days in a county jail after pleading no contest to one count of filing a false police report, the L.A. City Attorney's office announced. She was also ordered to serve 36 months of probation and pay a $220 fine, reports the L.A. Times.
“Making a false criminal report is a serious offense with real consequences. It squanders precious law enforcement resources that should be devoted to solving actual crimes,” L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a release. “And here, this reckless and irresponsible action triggered an Amber Alert that diverted attention throughout our region."
As for what really happened, the LAPD says that detectives discovered that Gatson had loaned her car to Kandace Johnson—a friend—days before the incident, and that Johnson had refused to return the car. According to CBS 2, Johnson had requested the loan so that she could work for a ride-sharing service. Furthermore, there was no 16-year-old male involved.
Gatson was arrested the day after she made the call, and was booked for filing a false police report. "Gaston’s motive behind the false report is unknown, but it is believed she simply wanted to create a scenario that would warrant police response," the LAPD said in a release.
The Times said that her car was eventually found in San Bernardino.