PHOENIX — Phoenix police say a couple who reported a missing baby fabricated the story in the hopes of getting their stolen truck back quicker.
A couple claimed on Wednesday afternoon that their pickup truck was stolen from a QuikTrip gas station. They told police that they were the caregivers of an 18-month-old who was reportedly in the truck at the time.
“We will always err on the side of safety and making sure that we locate an 18-month-old or a child in general," Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said. "So, we will err on that side until we are meeting that exhaustive element of, we're not finding anything else that's leading us down that path."
Police, in fact, found the truck in another part of town. They also tracked down the suspects who are accused of stealing it. They were in a nearby home, but no baby was found with them.
Shortly after, detectives became suspicious and began interviewing all four people involved. They learned later on that the missing baby was a lie.
BREAKING: @PhoenixPolice learned the “caregivers” fabricated the kidnapping story. There is no missing 18-month-old. The couple apparently wanted quicker police response to get their truck back from the suspects who took it. They will be charged with false reporting. @abc15 pic.twitter.com/FOClA4O5mH— Ashley Paredez (@AshleyOnABC15) May 13, 2021
"I think that is extremely horrible and selfish because there's people out there that actually have a good heart and care about the community and the people that live in the community," said Ingrid Alatorre, who lives nearby. "So, I think that's really unnecessary and not only that, you're wasting the officers' time.”
Officials say the couple that initially called fabricated the story in hopes of getting a quicker police presence to get their truck back. They ultimately did get their truck back but they will now also be facing charges for falsifying information.
“They need to know that you can't just do that when there's other situations around the Phoenix area where cops are really needed,” Alatorre said.
All the inconsistencies played a factor as to why Phoenix police were waiting to issue an Amber Alert. They say there is a checklist that has to be met before doing so.
“You want to believe that, you know, someone's actually going through a situation and you want to help. Then, come to find out that it was all a made-up story, yeah, it's unnecessary. It’s inhumane actually,” Alatorre said.
UPDATE: After an intensive search for the reported baby, we have learned that the "care giving couple" fabricated the story of a kidnapping. The couple wanted quicker police response to get their vehicle back from the suspects who took their truck without their permission. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/dzUWlbP6iC— Phoenix Police (@PhoenixPolice) May 13, 2021
This story was originally published by Scripps station KNXV in Phoenix.