A 16-year-old boy walked into a High Desert nail salon this week with his hands tied behind his back and reported he had been kidnapped the day before.

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies and a detective interviewed the Hesperia boy and a suspect was identified.

However, no kidnapping suspect was arrested. The Hesperia boy was cited on suspicion of making a false report.

The boy had made the whole thing up so he wouldn't have to go home, sheriff's officials said.

The boy's behavior isn't uncommon. Officials from several law enforcement agencies say false or embellished reports is something they deal with on a regular basis.

"Valuable resources were redirected, ..." due to this call," said Sue Rose, spokeswoman for the sheriff's Hesperia station.

Elsewhere in Southern California, investigators said Thursday that a 11-year-old boy's kidnapping story in San Pedro was just that: a story.

The boy said a masked man had kidnapped him on his way home from school, authorities said. Why did the boy create the tale? So he wouldn't get in trouble with his parents for disappearing for three hours.

During questioning, the sixth-grade student told detectives that he went for a walk after he was dismissed about 3 p.m. from Dana Middle School. His parents were going to pick him up, but they were late. So he bought Skittles at a liquor store and walked around San Pedro.

And last Friday, 10 Pomona police officers spent more than an hour investigating a false report of a man with a gun at Emerson Middle School, police Lt. Chuck Becker said.

Officers said they later learned two 12-year-old students had told their mothers the lie in hopes of not having to return to school after lunch. Both girls were cited for making a false report.

"This is a real problem because it does pull resources from real crimes," Becker said.

A recent FBI report shows that many California law enforcement agencies have seen substantial budget cuts. So already strained resources are stretched further when a false report has to be investigated

From 2008 to 2011, Pomona lost nearly 21 percent of its officers, going from 187 to 148.

During that same time frame, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department lost about 60 deputies.

Rose said it is sometimes difficult to confirm a call is indeed fake.

"It's tough to track false crimes because we have to investigate all reported crimes," she said. "We get lots or reports of crimes which turn out false but we still (investigate) and forward the findings to the" District Attorney's Office.

After that, if the DA's Office determines the person made false statements, charges may be filed against the person making the report.

Filing a false report is a misdemeanor and can be punishable by imprisonment in county jail for up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

But, according to Rose and Becker, the problem isn't just phony reports from kids trying to get out of school. They also see people embellishing legitimate reports in hope of getting officers to their scene faster.

"Unfortunately, it's common to hear from people someone has a gun in the hopes of getting a faster response, but when officers respond we learn that wasn't the case," Becker said.

It's a dangerous way to get officers to respond to a call, he said.

"When officers get called out to a call where someone says there is a gun or weapon, the officers' mind set is different than that of another call," Becker said.

Rose said officers and deputies have to take each call as a legitimate potential crime.

"We take the caller's statements seriously and acting in good faith and respond accordingly. Unfortunately," she said those making false reports don't take into account "the real emergencies that they may be taking resources from. "


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