Police said they are still investigating the reasons behind a couple faking their own disappearance this week.
Larry William Sweatt Jr., 41, of Hamlet, and Amy Michelle Thomas-Gallo, 41, of Pinebluff, are being charged with filing a false police report and misuse of 911, police said.
The joint effort between Hamlet Police Department, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and State Bureau of Investigation began on Wednesday when the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call.
“They said they needed help and that someone was after him,” said Capt. Rodney Tucker of the Hamlet Police Department, who released the information Friday.
According to Tucker, police found the caller’s car near the Highway 177/74 bypass with the windshield and driver’s side window busted.
“On the 16th his mom reported him missing,” said Tucker about Sweatt. “He was last seen at his residence in Hamlet. We later found out his girlfriend was also missing from Pinebluff where she was last seen. We treated this as a very serious issue.”
Tucker said the SBI became involved and law enforcement began searching for both Sweatt and Gallo.
“We finally located them last night at 8:30 p.m. when they returned to Sweatt’s residence in Hamlet,” said Tucker. “Apparently they had set the whole thing up. We are still asking why.”
Richmond County Sheriff James E. Clemmons Jr. said, “Anyone that causes a report to be false in its intent, that causes law enforcement to expend time, should be and will be charged accordingly.”
“Hamlet Police Department, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and SBI expended a lot of resources in this case,” said Clemmons. “These people have been charged and will be prosecuted. I feel that this is a very serious offense because it takes resources from the people who truly need our help.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.