A brazen kidnapping in broad daylight, a handgun, and ransom demands.
It all unfolded at a Jamesport gas station Saturday afternoon, two South Jamesport residents told police.
But if it sounds too far-fetched to be true, that’s because it was all a hoax.
Riverhead Town police say the abduction report made Saturday afternoon was just a tale, and now the supposed abductee and a woman both face misdemeanor false reporting charges.
The story began to unravel almost as soon as it started at the American Gas station on Main Road about 5 p.m. Saturday, after a woman called police to report a kidnapping.
The intial caller — a third party to the hoax who was not arrested — told police Josephine Minerbo, 29, of South Jamesport had just told her Joshua Georges, 31, had been kidnapped, according to police reports.
After arriving at the station, police located Ms. Minerbo and questioned her about the incident. She told police she had been driving in a car on Main Road while Mr. Georges was driving another car. Mr. Georges had stopped to pump gas at the station, she said, but as he was pumping was approached by a black man, who lifted up his shirt to reveal a handgun, according to a police report.
The man then took Mr. Georges into another vehicle and drove off, heading west on Main Road, Ms. Minerbo told police.
Ms. Minerbo said she received a call a few moments later from two men who demanded she give them money in exchange for Mr. Georges’ safety.
But after further questioning by police officers, Ms. Minerbo revealed she and Mr. Georges had made the incident up, and that Mr. Georges was safe waiting in a house down the street.
Police arrested both Ms. Minerbo and Mr. Georges, and charged them with third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a class “A” misdemeanor.
The motive for the hoax had not yet been determined, police said Monday.
Mr. Georges was arraigned before Justice Richard Ehlers in Riverhead Town Justice Court Monday and released on $250 bail, court officials said. He is due back in court on July 9.
Ms. Minerbo was given an appearance ticket and is due back in court on June 25 to be arraigned, court officials said.
She declined to comment about the incident Tuesday morning.
Correction: An earlier version of this story cited court officials stating Mr. Georges was being held on $250 bail. Court officials have since confirmed Mr. Georges posted bail Monday.