Two Mississippi State students have been arrested for making a false armed robbery report to authorities early Sunday morning to cover the fact that they had intentionally cut their arms because they wanted scars that made them appear tough, Starkville Police Department detectives say.
Charles William Maris III, 22, of 617 University Drive, Apt. B2, and Michelle Lynn Stein, 19, of 505 Mary Lee Lane, were both charged Monday with false reporting of a crime. Both were released on bonds of $500 apiece.
The two were treated at the OCH Regional Medical Center Emergency Room shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday.
Maris had four-inch gashes on each of his upper arms, while Stein had a similar gash on her upper left arm, said SPD Detective Scotty Carrithers, who investigated the incident.
OCH ER staff members contacted police about the stab wounds about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, he said.
Both Maris and Stein had to have multiple stitches to close the wounds, which they claimed to have received while struggling with a knife-wielding attacker who attempted to rob them on Maxwell Street, Carrithers said.
Maris and Stein initially reported that a man carrying a knife had approached them and demanded money, Carrithers said.
A struggle ensued between Maris and the “robber,” which is when the knife wounds were inflicted on his arms, the two told police.
Stein was injured when she jumped on the “robber’s” back in an “attempt” to help Maris fend off the supposed attacker, Carrithers said.
Responding patrol officers, however, quickly found multiple inconsistencies in the pair’s story, particularly with regards to the crime scene itself, Carrithers said.
During questioning, police learned the knife wounds on their arms were self-inflicted, Carrithers said.
“They wanted scars because they wanted to ‘look hard,’” Carrithers said.
This is not the first time Police Department detectives and patrol officers have had to investigate false crime reports. Such incidents are extremely problematic, said SPD Lt. Mark Ballard.
“These types of incidents distract officers and use of resources away from following up on actual crimes,” Ballard said.
“If false crimes are reported, we will prosecute those involved.”
Though a misdemeanor offense under state law, conviction on a charge of making a false crime report can result in a one-year jail term, up to a $1,000 fine and restitution to a law enforcement agency for costs associated with investigating the false crime.