06/14/2007

Manhunt based on false report cost Vt. police $20,000

The Associated Press

WEST CHARLESTON, Vt.  The Vermont State Police says a four-hour search in West Charlestown launched after a man said he'd been shot by a stranger cost up to $20,000.

Steve Austin, 28, and his girlfriend told police he was shot by an unknown assailant Tuesday morning after hearing gunshots behind his home.

But Austin later told police he accidentally shot himself in the knee while target practicing behind his home.

Twenty law enforcement officers, including state police, game wardens, sheriffs deputies and Border Patrol agents, included four dogs and a Border Patrol helicopter, helped in the search.

State Police Lieutenant Tom Hanlon says police did the right thing.

Austin could face charges for making a false report.

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