Woman pleads guilty in fake kidnap case

February 06, 1997


Staff Writer

A moment of self-described foolishness cost a 24-year-old Hagerstown woman dearly Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Melissa Ann Miller, of 1021 Westport Drive, pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft in connection with an incident last summer in which she faked her own kidnapping and robbery to hide the theft of more than $5,000 from her employer.

Judge John H. McDowell refused to grant probation before judgment, despite Miller's previously clean criminal record. Instead he gave her a three-year suspended prison sentence, placed her on probation for three years and ordered repayment of $5,761 in restitution.

"This was a felony theft in a very devious manner," McDowell said. "You led police on a wild goose chase."

Miller was arrested by police on Aug. 30 at the Wellesley Inn on the Dual Highway and charged with false report of a crime, felony theft, and conspiracy to commit felony theft.


Maryland State Police said Miller told them and Hagerstown City Police on July 22 that she had been kidnapped and robbed as she left the Wellesley Inn, where she worked, to make a bank deposit.

State police said Miller told officers that a man forced his way into her car, made her drive to Frederick, Md., and then assaulted her on the way back to Hagerstown. She was cut numerous times, she said.

State police said Miller told them that when the man hit her in the forehead with what she thought may have been a pipe, she pretended to be unconscious. The man then took the bank bag and fled, she said.

State police said that their investigation revealed that Miller managed the Wellesley and was responsible for bank deposits.

When her first story fizzled, she told police she planned the theft with a friend, according to court records. Miller said she turned the bank bag over to the friend when she left the motel that night, state police said.

That story also fell apart, court records said.

Miller admitted to McDowell Thursday that she used the money to pay mortgage and car payments that were in arrears.

State police said Miller's injuries were self-inflicted.

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