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Man admits kidnapping in Rolling Hills was a hoax

December 17, 2008 |  2:38 pm

When Andrew Davis called his elderly father at his Rolling Hills home early Saturday afternoon, the situation seemed dire. If the 76-year-old man did not pay several thousand in ransom, his 47-year-old son would be history.

"He said to his father that 'they need the money or they're going to kill me,' " said Los Angeles Sheriff's Det. Randy Oviedo.

Within hours, however, the story had fallen apart when sheriff's deputies were called in, and Davis admitted to investigators there was no kidnapping, Oviedo said.

It wasn't long before cracks began to show in Davis' account. During a series of phone conversations with the father, the purported ransom that began at $3,200 crept up to $4,400. The location where the father was told to drop the money changed several times.

Eventually, Davis confessed, admitting that he was trying to get money to pay a drug debt, Oviedo said.

Davis and another man identified as Ronald Hohman, 44, were arrested and each charged with two felony counts, including attempted theft from an elder and attempted grand theft.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Investigators said the hoax tied up resources that should have been available elsewhere.

-- Andrew Blankstein