When Aftab Aslam got an F in English—a class he’d failed once already—the prospect of telling his parents the bad news was too much for him to bear.
According to the Johns Creek Patch, Police say that on April 27 the 19-year-old student at Gwinnett College in Lilburn, Georgia bought a cheap cellphone from Target and texted his parents. The message, purporting to be from a criminal gang, informed them that their son had been kidnapped and warned them not to contact the police or he would be killed.
But his parents did call the police, who then brought in the FBI, who then proceeded to launch an intensive investigation. While Aslam, 19, was hiding out in a field, the authorities found the phone he used to send his bogus message. Once they found out that he was the one who bought the phone, they downgraded the case from a suspected kidnapping to a missing-person investigation. But when bad weather forced Aslam to go home after eight days’ camping in the field, he stuck to his story and continued to claim that the made-up gang had drugged him and held him prisoner.
Under cross-examination, Aslam eventually confessed to having made the whole thing up, reports the Patch. While it’s unclear what exactly Aslam thought the outcome of his ruse would be, the Daily Mail notes that he may have thought that his parents’ relief at his safe return would overshadow any anger when he eventually broke the news of his bad grades.
The police were less than sympathetic to Aslam’s academic problems. They arrested him on Friday and charged him with falsely reporting a crime, making false statements, tampering with evidence and making terroristic threats. According to the Fulton County Jail, he was released the following day on $9,000 bail.