By Geoffrey Croft
Police have arrested three tourists - two from Finland and one from Australia - in less than two weeks in two separate incidents - for reporting crimes that did not occur NYC Park Advocates has learned.
On Tuesday March 25, Pinja Pesonen, 27, and Antti Vuorisalo, 34, of Suomi, Finland, were arrested on charges of filing a false police report.
According to police, the couple walked into the Central Park precinct a little before 1p.m. and claimed that two white men had grabbed the women's handbag with undisclosed valuables while they walked along East Drive near East 74th Street inside Central Park.
The couple filed a written report with police and officers drive them around canvassing the park and surrounding area.
Police found no witnesses and no camera footage of anyone leaving the park with the bag.
When pressed by investigators they recanted within an hour of reporting the incident and admitted they lied.
Both were arrested and charged with filing a false police report.
They were ordered back in court today. (Doc # 2014NY023046)
Nine days earlier on Sunday March 16th, a female tourist visiting from Victoria Australia claimed she was robbed by a black man in Central Park.
Larisa Ryan, 41, walked into the Transit District 1 police headquarters in Columbus Circle at around 6 p.m. and claimed she had been robbed of her Ipad and iphone at 72nd Street and West Drive, inside the park.
The white tourist told police her attacker was a black, about 6-ft-4 tall.
Police searched for the attacker with her and reviewed camera footage for several hours. After finding no evidence of the robbery, Ryan finally confessed she had lied about the robbery with the plan to collect an insurance payment according to a police source.
She was arrested and charged with filling a false written statement to police.
She appeared in Manhattan criminal court where she pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was fined $250 and released.
"These people do this all the time," said a Central Park officer speaking on the condition of anonymity.
"They must see us on tv and say, 'this will be easy' but more often than not they get caught. They just don't think it through."