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An 18-year-old man has been charged with trying to extort money from his father by falsely reporting his own kidnapping, the Charles County Sheriff's Office reported.

A Waldorf man called police around 12:30 p.m. Nov. 4 and said he had received a text message from a cell phone belonging to his son Louis Harrod, 18, indicating that he had been kidnapped and demanding a $2,500 ransom. The message said Harrod would be hurt if the ransom was not met.

Officers contacted Harrod's girlfriend, who said he had been abducted at gunpoint the previous day. She told officers that the kidnappers had threatened to hurt her if she reported them to police.

Investigators learned Harrod might have been at a St. Mary's County apartment. As they were approaching the residence, officers saw a man fitting Harrod's description leave the apartment alone and unharmed.

Detectives stopped the man and identified him as Harrod, who claimed to have been kidnapped before escaping his captors. But investigators determined Harrod had been at a relative's home the entire time and falsely reported the kidnapping.

Harrod was arrested and charged with filing a false statement and extortion. He was released Nov. 7 on $3,000 bail.

Charges are pending against Harrod's girlfriend, police said.

JEFF NEWMAN