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Couple arrested for allegedly lying about Glendale hit-and-run

May 21, 2012

A couple was arrested Sunday after they allegedly lied about being carjacked to avoid being investigated for fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run collision, police said.

Glendale police said Amarah Hernandez, 19, of San Clemente waited eight minutes before calling police at 10:30 p.m. about two gang members allegedly forcing her out of her car in front of her boyfriend’s home on the 600 block of East Cypress Street.

Hernandez was sobbing as she told her story, and then her 23-year-old boyfriend, Michael Sandman, also began to report his version of the incident to officers, police said. He claimed to have allegedly run after the men, but stopped chasing them to return home to get his weapon.

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But what the couple didn’t know is that police had been investigating an earlier hit-and-run collision in which witnesses reported seeing a man and woman leaving their car and fleeing the scene.

Police said Hernandez’s cell phone, wallet and purse were left behind inside the car, which was found at Palmer Avenue and Mariposa Street just two blocks away from Sandman’s home.

Hernandez allegedly struck two parked cars.

Officers warned her that she was reporting a bogus report and could go to jail for a more serious offense, but she and her boyfriend stuck to their carjacking story. They could also smell alcohol odor on Hernandez’s breath, according to police.

“As a police officer, it’s kind of like your sixth sense kicks in,” Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

Hernandez’s boyfriend allegedly encouraged her to sign an accident report, which claims her car was stolen, according to reports.

Soon after, a witness who saw the hit-and-run crash allegedly identified Hernandez as the woman who fled the scene.

Police handcuffed Hernandez and placed her in the back of a patrol car, where she allegedly admitted to driving the car and crashing.

Hernandez was arrested on suspicion of DUI, hit and run and filing a false report.

Sandman was also arrested on suspicion of committing perjury because police said he allegedly helped her concoct the carjacking story.

Police may consider seeking restitution for the amount resources devoted to the incident, Lorenz said.

-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

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