Two Fresno men were arrested on May 30 after deputies determined one faked a kidnapping in order to extort money for drugs from his father, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said that Hollis Priest, 35, and Dustin Petersen, 30, have extensive criminal histories and are methamphetamine users.
Botti said deputies received a call at 5:30 a.m. from a man saying that someone had kidnapped his son, Priest. The supposed kidnapper was sending text messages to the father using his son’s cellphone and demanded thousands of dollars to secure his release.
Investigators set up a ransom exchange, Botti said. The suspect was told to drive to the Burger King at Clinton and Brawley avenues and look for a white truck, which would contain the ransom money.
Pedersen and Priest arrived around 5:45 p.m. As Priest tried to pick up the money, detectives approached him.
Botti said Priest immediately became combative and was arrested. Investigators later determined that Priest had never been kidnapped, but had faked the whole thing to get money from his father.
Pedersen was arrested on a previous bench warrant for a felony burglary charge.