A West Auckland man is facing up to 14 years in jail after he allegedly lied to police about being kidnapped and torching his own mother's car.
Massey man Damon Munro was charged with arson, theft of a motor vehicle and making a false statement after police spent 17 hours investigating his claims that he was kidnapped and beaten by strangers on February 26.
He is also charged with breaching a protection order, after he allegedly sent 79 text messages over several days to a woman he had been ordered not to contact.
On the night of February 25, police received reports that a car was doing burnouts and driving recklessly on Rush Creek Drive in Massey.
A police source said the car was registered to and owned by Munro's mother, Lyn Munro. Police went to see Mrs Munro, and to check on her son - who was on bail facing charges relating to previous alleged offending, and living at her house.
Mrs Munro told police that her son had taken her car without permission. At 6am Munro allegedly contacted his mother saying he had been "hijacked" in her car and kidnapped. He told her that his attackers had broken both of his legs and set her car on fire near Helensville.
Mrs Munro called 111 and police launched an intensive search.
Soon after the 111 call police spoke to Munro, and then received a text message from him saying he had been tied up and gagged.
Hours later Mrs Munro's car was found burnt out on a roadside in Glorit, just south of Wellsford. Police units including six detectives were quickly dispatched to Mrs Munro's house, the scene of the arson and to locate Munro himself.
When they located him they arrested him for breaching bail and the protection order, and while in custody he gave a statement to police about the kidnapping.
The source said Munro told officers he was approached at his home by two men who "accompanied him" to a shopping centre carpark in Massey in his mother's car.
There they tied him up, forced him into the back of the car and drove north - followed by a third man in a separate vehicle.
Munro claimed he kicked the man driving his mother's car, causing him to lose control and crash.
He was then able to free himself and escape, before watching the men set fire to his mother's car and leave in the other vehicle.
Munro then told police he had walked 17km back to Kaukapakapa, where he called his mother.
After investigating his claims for about 17 hours, police charged Munro. It is understood they are not seeking anyone else in connection with the alleged offending.
A source said Munro had wasted police time by allegedly lying about what had happened to the car. He said as a result of the alleged false claims, a number of police had been diverted from their normal duties and other genuine emergencies could have been at risk of being under-resourced.
Munro appeared in the Waitakere District Court and was remanded in custody. The maximum penalty for arson, the most serious of the charges Munro is facing, is 14 years' jail.By Anna Leask @AnnaLeask Email Anna