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Washington Co. sheriff: Report armed carjacker posed as driver in distress was a hoax

WASHINGTON COUNTY —  Officials with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, Feb. 29 issued a warning after a good Samaritan was carjacked — ordered out of his vehicle at gunpoint by a thief who posed as a driver in distress. In an update Monday, March 2, Sheriff Martin Schulteis said the incident was a hoax. The victim recanted his story, indicating he “made up the event for financial gain,” sheriff’s officials said.

The incident was reported to have happened between 5:07 p.m. and 5:12 p.m. on I-41 southbound at the State Highway 167/Holy Hill off-ramp.

The victim, a Michigan man, 57, with ties to Washington County, said the carjacker stood behind an older (possibly 1970s), silver, four-door Buick LeSabre in rough condition — blocking any view of the license plate. He had a gas can and acted as though he was out of gas. The trunk of the vehicle was open.

The victim said he pulled over to help, and the carjacker approached the passenger side of his truck, opened the door, pointed a handgun at the Michigan man, and ordered him out of his truck — a silver 2016 Dodge Ram. The carjacker was described as white, standing 6′ tall, weighing 200 pounds, with a gray hoodie, blue jeans, dark sunglasses, and black work boots.

Amid the investigation, sheriff’s officials said “several inconsistencies” were found regarding the victim’s account of events.

Officials noted the WCSO “exhausted considerable public safety resources over 45 hours to investigate this case.”

“The initial information rightfully upset people to think that a Good Samaritan could have been victimized like that,” Sheriff Schulteis said in the release. “What is equally distressing is the sociological impact this false allegation has given individuals to help others who truly need help. The alleged victim in this case is now the suspect in an obstructing investigation.”

The sheriff, in a news release, noted when this incident was initially reported to law enforcement, time was of the essence to notify the public with the goal of potentially clearing the case and warning other drivers to avoid contact with this person. The sheriff said in the release, “This exigency precipitated the news release with the information available at the time. The sheriff’s office remains committed to this level of transparency with the public to enhance the safety of our community.”

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