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COOLIDGE — What at first seemed like an alarming kidnapping is now being treated as a hoax.

On Feb. 10, police responded to reports and found a man, Brandon Soules, near the Coolidge water tower with his hands bound behind his back with a belt and a bandana stuffed in his mouth.

Soules originally told police that two masked men had kidnapped him, hit his head and knocked him unconscious. Soules went on to say they had driven him around in a vehicle before leaving him where he was found, in the area of First Street and Northern Avenue.

After Coolidge detectives conducted an extensive investigation, they found evidence showing Soule’s story was fabricated and no kidnapping or assault occurred.

Soules was arrested on Feb. 17 for false reporting to police and reportedly admitted during an interview that he made up the story as an excuse to get out of work.

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Aaron Dorman is a reporter covering Coolidge and the surrounding area. He can be reached at adorman@pinalcentral.com.