By Kevin Barlow
The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.
NORMAL, Ill. — A 23-year-old Normal woman has been arrested on preliminary charges of filing a false police report that generated thousands of shares after she posted the account on Facebook.
The woman's arrest stemmed from her report to law enforcement Wednesday that she was stopped by a male impersonating a police officer and using a vehicle equipped with emergency lights on Monday near Heartland Community College on Raab Road in Normal.
"Our investigation eventually revealed that this incident never occurred," said Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner. "The arrest stems from several man-hours of patrol time and detective time and we could not put all of our resources into crimes that actually occurred. Had this individual come clean with us in the beginning, it would not have continued to grow and get out of hand like it did."
The woman is being held at the McLean County jail, pending review of charges by the McLean County state's attorney's office. She is expected to be formally charged Friday.
The Pantagraph does not name suspects until they are formally charged.
"If this incident had actually occurred, we would have notified the public immediately because any time someone impersonates a police officer, it is a public safety issue," Bleichner said. "It is unfortunate it got to this point."
When The Pantagraph checked with police after the rumor was posted Tuesday on its Facebook page, police reviewed their logs and found no evidence of the alleged stop.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2013 The Pantagraph