Arizona authorities accused a man of going to great lengths to withdraw from work this month, claiming he faked his own kidnapping, tied his wrists, gagged and had invented a story of a treasure hidden in the desert.
The man, Brandon Soules, was arrested last week for false reporting to law enforcement, Coolidge, Ariz., Police said in a statement describing a scheme they said was intended to excuse Mr. Soules from his job at a tire store.
In the statement, police said Mr Soules, 19, admitted in an interview with detectives that he made up the kidnapping story, which led to his arrest. He was registered with the Coolidge Police Department and released with a court date. Mr Soules did not immediately respond to a message on Tuesday and it was not clear if he had a lawyer.
Police said their investigation began around 5:25 p.m. on February 10, when officers responded to a call about an injured man in an area near train tracks, houses and a water tower. from town to Coolidge, a town of about 13,000 people about 55 miles. outside of Phoenix. The caller reported that the man goes in and out of consciousness.
When police arrived, they found a man, later identified as Mr. Soules, with his hands tied behind his back by a belt and a purple bandana “stuffed in his mouth”, police said. A police department photo showed the man with his hands tied lying on his side on the ground.
Mr Soules told police that after finishing a run that morning he returned home, where two masked men abducted him near his vehicle, punched him in the back of the head and knocked him out, according to the arrest report.
The men, Soules said, “drove him into a vehicle before leaving him in the area where he was found,” police said. Mr. Soules was taken to hospital, where he was assessed and questioned by police. According to the department, he told investigators he was kidnapped because his father hid a large amount of money in the desert.
For days, detectives tried to investigate his account, including review the surveillance video of the area and interview the people he mentioned. Hospital records showed Mr. Soules did not have a concussion or head injury, according to a police report, and text messages examined by detectives did not show messages or phone calls that had been described.
Eventually, and after repeatedly confronting Mr. Soules with problems in his account, detectives concluded that “his story was fabricated and no kidnappings or assaults had taken place,” police said. They also determined that the account of the hidden treasure was false.
Mr Soules worked at a car store, the Tire Factory, where he installed tires and toured the area picking up parts for the store, police said. A store manager declined to comment on the arrest on Tuesday. According to Mr. Soules’ Facebook profile, he no longer works there.