NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (KXAN) – Two incidents involving a gun-wielding man breaking into cars and kidnapping people in New Braunfels have turned out to be false. After originally reporting the claims on Jan. 16 and 17, police are now saying both of those reports were based on fabricated evidence.
The Jan. 16 case occurred on the 800 block of West San Antonio Street. Michael Neumann, 35, told officers he was held at gun point by a man who forcibly entered his car and told him to drive. Additionally, Neumann said in the report that he briefly struggled with the kidnapper before the suspect ran away from the car. Police note in the press release that before the victim alerted the police, his wife posted on social media a description of the suspect.
Another case of aggravated kidnapping was reported Jan. 17 by a 21-year-old Sabrina Quintero, who claimed a man entered her car with a firearm and told her to drive to Houston. Her story included details of driving around with the suspect for two hours before stabbing him in the leg and being able to run away to a nearby bar for help. The woman told officers the suspect’s description matched the one from the day before.
In an interview with KXAN, both of the victims detailed their alleged escapes from an armed kidnapper.
These cases were taken very seriously by New Braunfels police who warned the community of the suspect on the loose. Calls immediately came flooding in of people who saw suspicious suspects matching the description. As safety awareness peaked, several other agencies joined the investigation; including Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office and DPS helicopters.
After weeks of hunting for the suspect, it was revealed that the reports were fake. When police confronted the victims with the false claims they both admitted to lying to officers.
New Braunfels police are now spreading a different message. They are informing the public there was never “an armed man entering vehicles and kidnapping drivers. He simply doesn’t exist.”
Warrants were issued for the two alleged victims and both of them were taken in custody at the Comal County Jail. Neumann and Quintero were both booked March 1 and face charges of false reporting to police and tampering with or fabricating evidence.
Another arrest was made after a driver reported on Jan. 20 of a man entering her car and demanding she drive after a hit and run crash. Police discovered 25-year-old Rebecca Palmer lied to police as a way to avoid the charges for the hit and run. Palmer was arrested and also faced false report charges.
In their press release the New Braunfels Police Department stresses the importance of telling police the truth. “NBPD will always take very police report seriously, but if those reports prove to be false, we also assure the public that our detectives will learn the truth and make arrests accordingly.”