After weeks of investigating a reported theft downtown, a woman admitted she fabricated the entire story to avoid a scolding from her mom.

On January 14, a 19-year-old female reported having her iPhone 5 and cash from her wallet stolen by four men near the 500 block of Conklin Place, an incident report said. The report said the woman told police one of the men had a knife on him and demanded she empty her pockets.

Madison Police Department spokesperson Joel DeSpain said as police continued to question the victim about her story, it seemed to unravel. The officer investigating the case checked surveillance footage from the reported time and place but found nothing matching the victim’s story, he said.

DeSpain said the victim made up the story because she did not want her mother to know where she really was when she lost her phone.

“It’s particularly troublesome in the downtown area where you have a large student population and when crimes take place within the off-campus or on-campus areas it does create fear,” DeSpain said. “It is too bad someone would make something like this up because we have enough real incidences to deal with than to artificially scare people because someone decided for whatever reason they need to make up a story.”

Although DeSpain said police have seen incidences like this in the past, he said they do not occur often.

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