An Alabama man was in need of a large sum of cash, and thought he had a great idea that would help him get his hands on it. He faked his own kidnapping in order to trick his grandmother into paying a ransom for him. He's been arrested, but is insisting the kidnapping wasn't a hoax.
Preston Kelley, 23, texted his grandmother on Monday with a disturbing photo of himself. It featured the Florence man bound in a wooded area in Tennessee, and he appeared to have suffered a recent beating.
Kelley told his grandmother that he had been kidnapped. He begged the elderly woman to send $1,000 as a ransom for him, or his captors would kill him. He instructed her to go to Walmart and obtain a MoneyGram money order.
Instead of sending the money, the grandmother contacted authorities. "He never got any money," said Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office investigator Lt. Brad Potts. "The grandmother came straight to us."
Upon investigation, police were able to find that Kelley wasn't in Tennessee. Investigators concluded that the whole incident was a hoax.
Kelley was arrested. Potts said that when officers questioned Kelley, he insisted his story about the kidnapping was true.
"We take all instances like that serious," Potts said. "But, eventually we determined it was all a hoax and he was trying to extort her for money."
"Family is the ones people tend to prey on, particularly elderly relatives," Potts added.
Most grandmothers, needless to say, would be distraught over the welfare of a grandchild. It's just a good thing this woman decided to put it into the hands of authorities rather than trying to resolve it on her own. If she hadn’t gone to the police, her grandson might have swindled her.
Investigators charged Kelley with first-degree extortion. Potts notes that the local drug task force is very familiar with Kelley from previous incidents.
Source: New York Post
Photo: Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department