NJ woman falsely claims she was abducted, police say
What began as a 911 call from a woman claiming to be abducted at gunpoint in Manalapan ended with the arrest of the 46-year-old New Jersey resident.
On Aug. 19, at approximately 6:35 a.m., Monroe Township police received an emergency 911 call from a woman - later identified as Marian Petro of Fort Lee - who said she had been pulled over in a vehicle and subsequently put into the backseat of a second car at gunpoint. According to a press release from Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, the incident took place near the intersection of Route 33 and Sweetmans Lane in Manalapan Township.
"Officers from the Manalapan Township Police Department immediately responded to the area, but were unable to locate the caller, vehicle or any witnesses to the alleged incident," the prosecutor said in the press release Thursday.
Further investigation led to a possible location in the area of Hulses Corner Road and Fort Plains Road in Howell Township, authorities said. When police searched the area, however, there was no sign of the reported victim, the vehicle or any evidence that an abduction had occurred.
"Due to the possible abduction, numerous local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies descended on the area in an effort to locate the possible victim," the prosecutor said. "The area was subsequently cleared and the growing and intense around-the-clock investigation continued over the next several days, in an attempt to locate the caller and substantiate the report."
Nearly a week later, on Aug. 25, police located Petro at a hotel with her extended family in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. She was unharmed and police determined that she had not actually been abducted.
"Further investigation revealed Petro had purposely made several false statements in her 9-1-1 call when she claimed she was held at gunpoint and put into the backseat of a black Mercedes Benz by a black male with dreadlocks," the prosecutor's office said.
Petro was arrested and has been charged with creating a false public alarm. She is being held in the Montgomery Township Correctional Facility, Lower Providence, Pennsylvania pending extradition to New Jersey. If convicted, Petro faces a sentence of three to five years in prison.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Decker, director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.
The prosecutor's office also states that several other law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation including: The joint investigation was conducted with the partnership of the Manalapan Township Police Department, Howell Township Police Department, Howell Township Office of Emergency Management, Fort Lee Police Department, Carteret Police Department, Upper Moreland Township (PA) Police Department, Hatboro (PA) Police Department, New York City Police Department, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management, Monmouth County Emergency Response Team, New Jersey State Police, United State Marshals Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.