Pennsylvania State Police said Chloe Stein was not missing or in danger after her car was found abandoned in Greensburg, saying her story was an apparent hoax.
Stein has been charged with false alarm to agency of public safety, false reports, obstruction of administration of law and other governmental functions, and disorderly conduct. She was taken to the Westmoreland County Prison Tuesday night.
Stein Texted BF She was Being Pulled Over, Told Cops She was Abducted at Gunpoint
On Tuesday night, Trooper Steve Limani said the 23-year-old woman from Jeannette was found at the home of an acquaintance. Limani said Stein ditched her car Monday night and walked to the home in Jeannette, staying there until Tuesday night. A tip came to the police that she was there.
Police said the last anyone heard from Stein was around 11 p.m. Monday when her boyfriend got a message from her that indicated she was being pulled over. Police issued a Missing Endangered Person Advisory for her, saying they believed she was at special risk of harm or injury. State police said Stein was last seen leaving work at 10:30 p.m. on Monday.
On Tuesday afternoon, Stein's mother said her daughter had finished working at the Sonic in Hempfield Township after 10 p.m., dropped off a co-worker, came back to work to drop off a set of keys, then headed home.
Stein's boyfriend and two friends said they found her car on Radebaugh Road under Route 66 in Greensburg and called the police. She was reported missing around lunchtime Tuesday, Limani said.
Police said she was not heard from again until she showed at a neighbor's house and produced an unbelievable story. She told investigators she was abducted by a man wearing a mask and held at gunpoint.
"She was released after being held at gunpoint and semi-assaulted, we'll call it, and bound," Limani said. "So then she was released and dropped off near an alleyway near her home. Of course, 'cause that's what someone would do."
According to the criminal complaint, when police told Stein her story was inconsistent with the evidence, she admitted to making up the entire story.
Stein was Supposed to 'Graduate' from Penn State Greater Allegheny Over the Weekend
Police said Tuesday night her story was made up. Stein's mom said she was set to graduate from Penn State Greater Allegheny this weekend, but a university official told police Stein was not enrolled at the school as a student for more than a year and a half.
"The only reason we are here before tomorrow is because the people need to know there is not somebody pulling people over this minute that is abducting people," Limani said Tuesday.
The theory for the fabrication, Limani said, was Stein thought she had no other choice. Her inner circle, police say, was looking forward to celebrating a momentous occasion in her life this weekend, but only Stein knew that wouldn't happen.
Police said they searched for six to seven hours on Tuesday, using K-9s and a helicopter. Limani said police spent "tens of thousands of dollars" looking for her while she was at a garage behind her house for majority of the duration.