Police recommending charges for false robbery report

NANAIMO – Mounties say robbery incident circulated on social media over weekend is bogus and could earn criminal charge.

A man who cried wolf on the weekend could be facing criminal charges for filing a false report to police that was widely circulated on social media.

Police were called about an alleged armed robbery Sunday in which a Nanaimo man claimed he was held up at gunpoint.

“A 19-year-old male called 911 about 10:45 p.m.,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “He said he was driving his car northbound on Hammond Bay Road. He said a guy walked in front of his car. He was forced to stop. The robber pointed a gun at him and he was told to hand over his wallet and iPhone.”

The alleged victim also provided a description of the suspect. Police responded with a Police Dog Services team, but were unable to find a suspect.

Investigators later re-interviewed the man, who admitted he fabricated the story and that he had lost his wallet and iPhone earlier that night and thought the robbery story would serve as a plausible excuse when he explained his loss to his parents.

“All available officers responded to this call,” O’Brien said. “They were involved for some time while investigating it. It’s not acceptable, regardless of the reason, to make up a complaint.”

O’Brien also said the fabricated story was quickly picked up and circulated on social media, causing considerable public concern.

“We’ll be recommending to Crown – and ultimately it will be their decision [to approve the charge] – but we will be recommending charges of public mischief, a criminal code offence,” O’Brien said.