MASTIC BEACH, N.Y. (WPIX) - A Long Island couple are in police custody after staging a fake kidnapping in order to obtain money from a parent, Suffolk County police announced Monday.
Stephanie Benatatos, 21, and her boyfriend Zifiris "John" Valsamis, 24, apparently made telephone calls to Benatatos' mother on Sunday at 5:20 p.m., claiming they were abducted by two armed men in a black SUV in the Mastic Beach area.
Authorities said Zifiris told his girlfriend's mother that the kidnappers released him and demanded the money he owed them for drugs, otherwise they would ultimately hurt Benatatos.
However, an investigation by Seventh Squad detectives determined the kidnapping did not take place.
Police did not disclose how they reached that conclusion -- however said Benatatos and Valsamis were arrested Sunday night and charged in the hoax.
The couple were both charged with attempted grand larceny in the 2nd degree and conspiracy in the 5th degree. In addition, Benatatos was charged with burglary in the 2nd degree for stealing from her parents' home on June 13.