LILBURN, Ga. -- A Lilburn woman was arrested Monday for making up a story about an attempted kidnapping and telling it to police.
Pamela Ann Strong is being held in the Gwinnett County Jail. She has been charged with false report of a crime, according to jail records.
Strong broke down in sobs when she appeared before a Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge Tuesday morning.
Lilburn Police spokesman Capt. Ben Haynes said Strong told investigators she saw a man attempt to kidnap a child from Park Avenue Thrift on Aug. 30.
Investigators interviewed Strong for a second time on Sept. 14, when she admitted that she made up the story, Haynes said.
Strong told police that she made up the story because she was upset that the child's parents were not supervising him while he looked at toys in the thrift store, according to Haynes.
Josh Evans said Strong approached him in the store and told him a man tried to lure his 3-year-old son Erik away with money.
"The child was real close to me, about 10 feet behind, but I had my back turned," Evans told 11Alive News after learning of Strong's arrest. "I couldn't see what was going on. He should have been with me."
Evans said he's not angry at Strong, but is shocked by what she did.
"She wasted police time, she frightened a lot of people in the community and I'm just concerned that she foolishly did all that," he said.
Strong identified a man on store surveillance video, and police circulated the photo to the Atlanta news media.
"I'd like to say sorry to the guy that was on the video because he's caught a bad rap from it and he had nothing to do with it," Evans said.
Police were never able to identify the man.
"This is a serious offense. The department spent several man hours trying to locate this suspect," Capt. Haynes said in a statement. "The department takes these types of reports extremely serious, and when this was initially reported, other investigations were dropped to focus on this one. To later find out this was a fabricated story is extremely disappointing."