Tennessee man Joe Williams claimed that three men beat him and robbed his store in an anti-gay attack. He was arrested when police discovered the report was false.
Williams claimed that just days before Thanksgiving he was beaten by three men wearing ski masks who robbed the store of $1,500 and doused it in flames. They also reportedly wrote anti-gay slurs on his forehead.
When the FBI began to investigate, which is standard protocol for a hate crime, investigators began to believe that Williams had made up the story. When Williams failed three times to offer key pieces of information known to the police, he was arrested.
“We’ve not been able to verify or dispel any of the statements made about the actual robbery or fire,” Paris Police Sgt. Ricky Watson said. “We’re looking into Mister Williams, and we’re looking into whether it did or did not happen.”
Williams was arrested for filing a false police report and released on $5,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court next month.
If the report is a hoax, it will be one in many of the year, dubbed “The Year of the Hoax” by CNN.