NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

August 24, 2013

Hoax carjacking story lands man in hot water

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY – Police have determined that a reported carjacking that took place at the Carriagetown Marketplace on Monday night never happened, and the man who reported the incident fabricated the story to cover up for his own carelessness.

Joshua Scaife, 33, of 93 Grochmal Ave, Apt. 58, Springfield, will be charged with issuing a false report to a public safety dispatcher and issuing a false report of a crime to police after he allegedly crashed his car into a tree and then told police that a Hispanic male had attempted to steal it, according to the Amesbury Police.

“Apparently he got out of the vehicle, left it in drive and it launched into the tree on its own,” said Amesbury Police Lt. Kevin Donovan. “So he tried to cover it up by coming up with this story.”

The incident occurred at 11:39 p.m. on Monday in the parking lot near Acapulcos Mexican Restaurant. Following the accident, Scaife called the police and reported an attempted carjacking, prompting more than a half dozen officers, including a state police K-9 unit, to respond to the scene.

The officers fruitlessly searched the area for the would-be carjacker, who Scaife allegedly said was a Hispanic male wearing a white and grey hooded sweatshirt. According to Donovan, Scaife told police that he had been making a newspaper delivery when the man approached him and yanked him out of the car. He then supposedly held on to the carjacker, causing him to crash the vehicle and then flee on foot towards McDonalds.

Over the following days, Donovan said the department’s detective division followed up on the case, reviewed security footage and conducted interviews before eventually determining that Scaife’s story didn’t check out.

Donovan said the department also interviewed Scaife and warned him on a couple of occasions that if he wasn’t being truthful he could be charged criminally. Despite that, Scaife reportedly stuck to his story until he was presented with additional evidence and finally made an admission.

The charges that Scaife faces are both misdemeanors, and if convicted he could face anywhere from probation to time in the house of correction. Donovan said he couldn’t predict what the courts will do, but the police didn’t appreciate the way he wasted their time and resources, nor his reporting that the suspect was a minority.

“It’s inflammatory,” he said.