Woman accused of faking her own kidnapping to cover up for not graduating college

A Pennsylvania woman has been accused of faking her own kidnapping to avoid embarrassment after she failed to graduate from college, according to authorities.

Chloe Stein, 23, has been charged with false alarm to a public safety agency, falsely reporting an offence, obstruction of law, and disorderly conduct, NBC News reports. A public alert was issued by state police after Ms Stein’s Volkswagen Beetle was found abandoned on the side of a road near North Greengate Road on Monday night.

Ms Stein’s boyfriend, who had received a text from her saying that she was stopped by police, reportedly tried to call her many times but could not get ahold of her, State Police Trooper Steve Limani said during a news conference Tuesday. Mr Limani said his department combed several areas with K-9 units and used a helicopter to search for Ms Stein before a tip on Tuesday night led them to a home in the city of Jeannette, where Ms Stein was hiding.

Although Ms Stein claimed that she had been taken to the residence at gunpoint “by an unknown male who posed as a police officer,” authorities quickly realised that her account of events did not add up.

Officials at Penn State University had also contacted law enforcement to deny news coverage that Ms Stein was a student at the college, as it was initially reported.

“During the course of that phone call we found out that she had not been attending college for quite some time, almost at the point where it’s over a year, maybe two, and graduation was right around the corner,” Mr Limani said.

“That really led us in the direction that at any point of time there was no police interaction, there was no pullover.”

 (Pennsylvania State Police)
(Pennsylvania State Police)

Ms Stein has since allegedly confessed to fabricating the kidnapping scheme because she did not want to disappoint her family by revealing that she was not going to graduate this semester, as they believed. A spokesperson at Penn State told NBC that Ms Stein was last enrolled at the university in 2018.

Mr Limani said that although he is glad Ms Stein was found safe, her actions worried the community and reportedly cost his department thousands of dollars.

“We were concerned before that we had a criminal investigation that may possibly be whatever you want to call it, kidnapping, some type of assault, who knows what it could’ve been, so we went from investigating that type of potential crime to now we are trying to investigate what is this type of crime, when you are risking inconvenience, alarm, alarming a community,” Mr Limani told WTAE.

Ms Stein is set to appear in court on 25 May for a preliminary hearing.