Los Angeles woman who triggered false Amber Alert gets 60 days in jail

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Friday, July 14, 2017
An Amber Alert that resulted in a search for a teen who was never actually abducted according to police is shown in a photo.
An Amber Alert that resulted in a search for a teen who was never actually abducted according to police is shown in a photo.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A 26-year-old woman who filed a false carjacking report that led to the issuance of an Amber Alert has been convicted and sentenced to 60 days in jail, according to Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.

Charline Gatson entered a plea of no contest to one count of filing a false police report. In addition to the jail time, her full sentence included 36 months of probation and a $220 fine.

Gatson told authorities she was carjacked at 47th and Figueroa streets July 6 and that her stepson, Eric Coleman, was in the backseat at the time of the carjacking.

MORE: Amber Alert triggered by armed carjacking, abduction of 16-year-old in LA, police say

Authorities identified Kandice Johnson, 31, as the suspect and she was found and arrested the next day in San Bernardino.

During the investigation, authorities learned Gatson had actually loaned the car to Johnson for several days and for an unknown reason Johnson had refused to give it back.

Authorities also learned Johnson never carjacked Gatson, and Coleman was never actually in the backseat.

MORE: Woman arrested for falsely reporting LA carjacking, triggering Amber Alert

Although the motive for Gatson creating the false reports is unclear, authorities believe she wanted to create a scene that would result in a swift police response.

"Those kinds of man-hours and that dedication of resources meant that other victims of true crimes, of valid crimes, went without justice or at least their justice (was) delayed," LAPD Capt. Shannon Paulson said.

The false report involved the Los Angeles police, California Highway patrol and San Bernardino police.

"Making a false criminal report is a serious offense with real consequences. It squanders precious law enforcement resources that should be devoted to solving actual crimes," said Feuer. "And here, this reckless and irresponsible action triggered an Amber Alert that diverted attention throughout our region."

A restitution hearing has been scheduled for a later date, according to Feuer's office.

Feuer's office said that when she was arrested July 11, Gatson was wanted for failing to appear in court for a restitution hearing in a 2015 conviction for auto theft.