Police say kidnapping report was "a hoax"

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After investigating a reported missing girl in the Homewood-Penn Hills area, city police said Tuesday night that the incident was a hoax.

"We have investigated this report, and we have determined that it is false and that this reported incident never happened," major crimes Lt. Kevin Kraus said

"We believe her entire report was false."

Whether the girl will be charged is unclear, he said.

"We will consult with district attorney to see how to proceed from this point," he said.

The 13-year-old girl had told her father, Alan Ricketts, 42, that she had seen another girl step off a school bus when a heavyset white man in a minivan put his arm around her mouth and dragged her up Texas Street against her will, police said.

The witness told her father she just gotten off her school bus at a stop across the street from their house when she saw the man grab the other girl.

She told her father the man covered the victim's mouth with his hand and she used her hands to make gestures that his daughter interpreted as her trying to ask for help.

Lt. Kraus said a 911 call about the incident came in about 2:40 p.m. Tuesday.

The witness told police a bearded white male, in his late 40s to early 50s, forced the girl into a white minivan or pickup truck. She said the possible kidnap victim was black and about 14 years, Lt. Kraus said.

Mr. Ricketts, a Pittsburgh sanitation worker, who was picking up a younger daughter from her bus stop, said his daughter called him in a panic from her cell phone.

"She was so startled she couldn't move," he said. "I just told her to run and get into the house."

After police confirmed that the incident was a hoax, Mr. Ricketts did not answer a call for comment.

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