Saturday, May 26, 2018
Public safety

Police: Clearwater man made up story of being stabbed by burglar

CLEARWATER — A man who called police and said he had been stabbed by a burglar inside his apartment earlier this week fabricated the story, police said Friday.

Ricardo Vargas, 34, admitted to detectives late Thursday that he made up the burglary and stabbed himself in the stomach area, Clearwater police said.

About 4 p.m. Wednesday, Vargas arrived at his residence at the Turnbury apartments, 25450 U.S. 19 N. He later told police that when he opened his door, he saw a man digging through his closet. The burglar turned around and stabbed him in the stomach, Vargas told police on Wednesday.

Vargas was taken by helicopter to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and later released.

Inconsistencies in Vargas' story raised red flags about what had happened, police said. During a follow-up interview, detectives questioned him more, and Vargas confessed that the burglary hadn't happened, police said. Police said they were still investigating Friday why Vargas lied.

Dozens of Clearwater police officers responded to the scene on Wednesday.

"He wasted the time and resources of the Clearwater Police Department, Clearwater Fire and Rescue and the Bayflite staff," said police Chief Tony Holloway. "He created a climate of fear in the neighborhood there that was unwarranted."

The case has been referred to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office. Charges of filing a false police report may be filed, police said.

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