CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A Clearwater mother and father are locked up at the Pinellas County Jail Wednesday night after the mom told police someone stole her car – with the couple’s 3-year-old son inside.
The trouble is police say Angelica Luz Marrero and Nestor Gerardo Badillo made the whole thing up. Now, they’re charged with misuse of the 911 system, a felony, and filing a false police report.
Police say that while the car was stolen, their son, Ismyel Dinero Badillo, was never in the vehicle in the first place.
Clearwater police tell News Channel 8, Marrero made up the story so cops would come to her house right away.
Police say Marrero had her car stolen two weeks ago, and it took officers a while to get there. So, when she wanted to report the car stolen today, she knew they’d get there right away if she said there was a child involved.
“Awful, awful, Awful,” a tearful Rosa Marrero said outside the Clearwater Police Department Wednesday night. “I thought I wasn’t going to see my grandson.”
Rosa Marrero is breathing a sigh of relief tonight that she has both her grandson and her granddaughter in her custody.
“Yeah, and it brings me to tears,” she said about what transpired throughout the day. “But now, thank God Almighty … I’m getting my grandbabies and they’re going to be safe and they’re going to be OK.”
It all began around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when Angelica Marrero called 911. She claimed someone stole her car from right outside her house on Boylan Avenue – with her son in it.
About an hour later, police arrested Stevie Gamble Jr., who neighbors describe as the mother’s boyfriend. Using GPS, they tracked him down and Gamble Jr. eventually wrapped the car around a sign on US 19 just south of Curlew Road.
“There must have been 15, 20 police cars behind him and they all came in with their guns drawn because they still thought the kid was in the car,” said Don Hayner who works at a barber shop on US 19 and watched it all unfold.
Gamble Jr. is charged with grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Police say the supposedly missing child was at a Pinellas Park daycare the entire time.
They also say the parents later admitted to lying.
Angelica Marrero refused to comment or respond to any of our questions except when asked if she regretted the ordeal.
Laughingly, she said, “I regret you being in my face.”
When asked if the two children were the victims, Badillo quickly responded saying, “I think I’m the victim. I got my car stolen twice in one month and I’m going to jail.”
Police say this entire incident got way out of hand. “Unfortunately, there’s a ridiculous turn of events with some really irresponsible behavior today,” Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter said.
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