WAREHAM (CBS) — A man has been arrested amid the backlash of a viral post from his girlfriend hailing him a hero for stopping an attempted child abduction at Water Wizz.
Matthew McGonnigal, 27, of Weymouth, was arrested on Thursday and charged with false report of a crime, unlawful wiretapping, and impeding a police investigation.
According to police, it began when McGonnigal misled investigators and “he said he was involved in over the past weekend at Water Wizz in Wareham, involving what he stated was an attempted abduction of a child that he interrupted and involved WPD officers.”
Investigators said the entire incident never happened.
Water Wizz responded with a Facebook post of their own saying neither they nor Wareham Police had any record of the abduction. “Seems that somebody has started a very vicious and destructive posting. As most of you know there are many things on Facebook that people post that are not true. For anybody that disagrees with us please call up the Wareham Police Department.”
They continued to explain, “We had a policeman on duty the day of the alleged incident and he would have been the first person to respond as he was directly in the park that day. Anyone in the park that day would have seen him as he was right at the front gate. We thank all of our loyal patrons for standing by us and standing up for us regarding this vile FB posting.”
“It’s a very serious thing to talk about abduction, it’s also a very serious thing to talk about a place that’s unsafe,” said Wareham Police Chief Kevin Walsh.
Jackie Pierce from Water Wizz called the fake allegations “very frustrating.”
“Obviously a lot of our patrons have children they trust us to be here safe, never mind in the parking lot being abducted,” Pierce said.
When police confronted McGonnigal about the statement, they said he tried to secretly tape the officers, violating the state’s wiretapping statute.
McGonnigal is due back in court September 11.