Payson's grapevine is long and fast, and when a repeated rumor hits the wrong lips, it can create a lot of confusion.
Such was the case recently when a rumored abduction attempt made its way to the Payson Police Department.
"A gentleman called us and wanted to know why there was nothing in the newspaper or on the news about an attempted abduction," Sgt. Rod Mamero said Wednesday. The sergeant checked the police log for the past few weeks, and found no mention of a kidnapping attempt. He then called the resident back and learned a few more details of the rumored crime.
"Allegedly, a lady had come out of Safeway or one of the stores there and finds her tire flat," Mamero said. "A gentleman in a business suit walks up and offers to change her tire." After the tire change, the man supposedly asks the woman for a ride, she declines and drives away -- with the man's forgotten briefcase in her car. When she opens it, she finds a knife and duct tape. Police investigate, and find that the knife blade is an exact match to the slash in her tire.
It's a good story, Mamero said, but it turns out to be just that --a story.
"None of the officers have heard anything about this. No one knows anything about this," the sergeant said.
After spending about a dozen man-hours investigating this urban legend and interviewing people in the area, police finally determined that a group of people were known to have repeated the story.
"We interviewed about 11 people who all said basically the same thing: 'No, I didn't say it happened to me. I thought it happened to so-and-so,'" Mamero said. "It's basically a rumor that has gotten out of control, and now it's creating hysteria about an incident that allegedly almost happened."
On the other hand, if the story is by some chance true, Mamero said the police department needs to find the victim.
"If something like this did occur, obviously we want to know about it, we want to investigate, we want to get to the bottom of it," he said. "What we don't need is a bunch of tips from people who have just heard 'he said, she said,' where we're chasing our tails around like we have for the past week. We've had to pull officers off of other duties to investigate this.
"It's a safe community, and we work very hard to keep it that way. These kinds of rumors undermine the confidence the public has in the town to keep things safe."
Anyone with verifiable information about this alleged crime, or any other criminal activity, can call the Payson Police Department at 474-5177.