A Florida Atlantic University student confessed Friday evening that he fabricated a story about a purported Wednesday robbery and beating to cover up that he was battered in Broward County while paying off a drug debt, police said.
Officials said Thursday that the student was robbed and beaten after he was taken from the Boca Raton campus by armed men. Five men approached the victim, got in his car and made him drive to a nearby bank on Glades Road where he was forced to withdraw money, a FAU spokeswoman said Thursday.
But Friday night FAU Police debunked the account given by Vincent Phillips, a 25-year-old student who lives in Coral Springs.
They said there were no crimes committed on campus as he indicated. He was not approached by the five men as he entered his car, nor was he forced to drive to a bank and then Coconut Creek. That's where he was beaten and left with his car, the spokeswoman had said.
Phillips did get medical treatment for injuries at a local hospital Wednesday evening, but he wasn't injured on FAU's campus, police said.
Instead, he now alleges that he was beaten in Broward while paying off a drug debt, according to police, who said they continue to investigate.
The initial report of the robbery and beating prompted the university to send a campus alert to students Wednesday night. Though the reported incident took place hours earlier, "FAU activated its alert system due to the severity of the reported crimes," police said.
"The FAU Police Department will work with the State Attorney’s Office regarding appropriate charges against Mr. Philipps. Although it is rare to receive false police reports, it is a serious crime as it distracts law enforcement officials from real responsibilities and other investigations," police said. "In this case, it also led to unwarranted concern by the entire FAU and Boca Raton communities."
It wasn't immediately known whether Phillips has an attorney.
He may also be disciplined under FAU’s Student Code of Conduct, police added.
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