Vermillion PD address false crime reports

The Vermillion Police Department, with assistance from the USD Public Safety, arrested Shelby Harkness, 18, for making a false report regarding threatening text messages, according to a press release issued Dec. 1.

 Last Tuesday Harkness reported that a former boyfriend, who resides in Nebraska, sent her threatening text messages. During the initial report, she stated she had observed him in the area after receiving the messages and hid from him. Later in the day, Harkness contacted USD Public Safety stating she had observed him inside the DakotaDome.

Officers from USD and the Vermillion Police Department responded to the Dome but were unable to locate the former boyfriend or his vehicle. Nebraska law enforcement was contacted and verified that the vehicle was at his residence. The investigation revealed that Harkness made up the story regarding the threatening text messages and observing him in the area.

Vermillion Police Chief Art Mabry said, "We are seeing an increase in false reports involving significant others, former relationships and child custody issues."

According to Mabry, based on the initial report, this case, like others, required immediate and significant resources. As a result, other cases and responsibilities receive limited attention until the case is resolved.

"In addition to wasted resources, people's lives can be ruined by these allegations even when they are proved to be false," Mabry said. "Educational opportunities such as medical or law school, employment and relationships are often lost for both the person making the false allegation and the victim of the allegation."

Mabry said the investigation is continuing to determine if more serious charges are warranted concerning statements made by Harkness when obtaining a temporary protection order for her former boyfriend.

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