A 25-year-old man is facing multiple charges under the Criminal Code and Motor Vehicle Act after Lillooet RCMP say he confessed to concocting a story of a carjacking at gunpoint on Highway 40 last month.
Police say the man told them he fabricated the story after he drove up a side road, his vehicle became stuck and he panicked. The man’s damaged green Plymouth Voyager van was recovered May 28 near a Forest Service Road off Highway 40.
Lillooet RCMP Sgt. Darrell Robinson told the News police expended “considerable resources” in searching for the man’s van and a white truck he claimed was driven by three men who allegedly accosted and threatened him at gunpoint.
“It’s very frustrating that, in this world of restraint, we spent many thousands of dollars investigating this case,” said Robinson. “We pulled all these resources together to follow what we thought were leads. We used a tremendous amount of resources, as we should have done, given that this was reported as a serious offence.”
He “conservatively” estimated the Mounties spent at least $15,000 investigating the phony carjacking report.
Police brought in helicopters from Kamloops and Kelowna to search for the two supposedly missing vehicles. An officer specially trained in conducting investigative interviews was also used to interrogate the alleged victim.
Police also issued warnings to motorists traveling Road 40 to be extra-vigilant and not stop for unknown vehicles.
Sgt. Robinson commended community members for their assistance in the case.
“I was very, very impressed by the number of community members who came forward and were extremely helpful,” the sergeant said. “A lot of the information they provided helped us bring this to a successful conclusion.”
The incident was reported May 23 when a Xwisten resident told police he spotted three men stopped at the side of the highway beside a broken-down white pickup truck with what appeared to be a flat tire. The man told police that when he stopped to offer assistance, one of the three men, with a bandana across his face, approached his vehicle with a rifle and ordered him to exit his van.
The supposed victim told police he was told to walk away from the scene and was warned he would be shot if the three men spotted him again.