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Man faces felony charge for filing false police report

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published December 22, 2015

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HAZEL PARK — A Troy man faces up to four years in prison after he allegedly falsely reported a felony in Hazel Park.

The suspect is Kelly Peterson, 47. He was arraigned Dec. 11 in Hazel Park 43rd District Court and released on a $1,000 personal bond. He has no prior criminal history.

According to police, Peterson came into the station Dec. 9 and reported an armed robbery. He told police that someone had approached him while he was driving through the city and forcefully entered the back of his car before holding a gun to his head and forcing him to withdraw $300 from his bank account at an ATM.

Peterson claimed that the incident occurred after he left a gas station near Eight Mile and John R roads at 7 a.m., where he had stopped to get change for a $20 bill. Afterward, he drove through an alley near East George Street. That’s when the alleged gunman approached him at an intersection.

According to Hazel Park Police Chief Martin Barner, one of the first red flags regarding the authenticity of Peterson’s story was the direction in which he was driving, which didn’t match up with where he said he’d been going.

“He works at Eight Mile and Telegraph, so why would he go north through the alley from a business on Eight Mile, to get to Eight Mile, when he’s already at Eight Mile?” Barner said. “It doesn’t make sense he’d be traveling away from the direction of his intended destination.”

Police interviewed him again the following day, and his story reportedly began to fall apart. Police also obtained video surveillance footage from several locations proving that the man was allegedly lying about what had happened and where.

“Today, there are cameras everywhere,” Barner said. “It took a while to piece together video from four different locations, but it clearly showed that where he said this incident occurred, it did not.”

Peterson was arrested the day after his second interview. Barner said these kinds of offenses are not taken lightly.

“Typically, we get several false reports of crimes a year,” Barner said. “And typically, it’s either the crime occurred somewhere else, or the individual was trying to hide their own misdeeds by blaming it on some made-up crime. For example, someone who lost money gambling might make up a story they were robbed.”

False reports waste police time and resources as they search for dangerous felons that aren’t real, according to Barner. They take patrol officers off the street, command officers away from their duties, and detectives off their current caseloads. It even affects other departments in the area as they go on high alert.

It can also put the police and public in danger when patrol officers have to race all over the city searching for an alleged gunman. Barner noted that just as many officers or more die each year from car crashes as they do from gunshots.

“In this case, the false report was of an armed robbery, so we took it very seriously,” Barner said. “People need to know that if you’re going to make a false report, and it’s determined it’s a false report, you will be charged.”

According to the court, Peterson is being represented by attorney Seymour C. Schwartz, who could not be reached for comment by press time.