The Charlotte Observer
A security officer at one of Florida’s busiest airports was arrested this week after falsely reporting she fought off a knife-wielding burglar outside her parents home, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Her heroic story proved to be entirely fake and was concocted to help the Winter Haven woman “avoid repercussions for excessive tardiness at work,” the sheriff’s office said in an April 19 news release.
The 34-year-old suspect works for the Transportation Security Administration ( TSA) at Tampa International Airport, the sheriff’s office said. She was arrested Monday, April 18, after a two-week investigation.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in the release. “I don’t understand why anyone would go to the extent of creating a fake police report to avoid a reprimand at work for tardiness.”
The woman is charged with criminal use of a personal ID and uttering a false document for creating a fake police report to back up the tale, the sheriff’s office said.
Investigators say the burglary is alleged to have happened Sunday, March 20 — which was yet another morning when the suspect was late for work.
“Once she arrived at work, (the suspect) told her supervisor she was late because while she was at her parents’ home, a man armed with a knife attempted to burglarize her parents’ vehicle,” the sheriff’s office said.
“(She) told her supervisor she drew her agency issued weapon and pointed it at the alleged suspect causing him to flee.”
The story began to come unraveled when a TSA supervisor asked the officer to supply a copy of the sheriff’s office incident report, along with a case number and identity of the investigating detectives.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office determined “an obvious fake PCSO report” was supplied by the suspect, along with contact information for a deputy who “was on vacation and out of the country at the date and time listed on the fake report.”
Further investigation also revealed her parents “had no knowledge” of any burglary and “their vehicle had not been burglarized,” the sheriff’s office said.
The suspect was part of a “TSA employee improvement plan for excessive tardiness” at the time of the report, officials said.
“When detectives asked (the suspect) about the armed burglary … (she) asked if her employer had contacted PCSO and that she didn’t want to discuss it,” the sheriff’s office said.