PHOENIX — Phoenix police say a couple who reported a baby missing fabricated the story to get their stolen truck back quicker.
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
A couple, identified as 40-year-old Stormee Wagner and 37-year-old James Wagner, claimed on Wednesday afternoon that their pickup truck was stolen from a QuikTrip near 3rd Avenue and Indian School Road. 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. 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,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune.
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.
"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. So, I think that's really unnecessary and not only that, you're wasting the officers' time,” said Ingrid Alatorre who lives nearby.
Officials say the "caregivers" 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,” says Alatorre.
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,” said Alatorre.
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