Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Community News Network

April 11, 2013

Minister's hostage hoax backfires

THOMASVILLE, Ga. — A minister who has described himself as a prophet has been charged in a hostage hoax that involved thousands of dollars.

Authorities say Calvin Lee Lewis concocted a story where he claimed to have been kidnapped and those holding him hostage demanded $10,000 for his release.

Lewis, who pastors a Bainbridge (Ga.) church and lists his occupation as prophet, telephoned a Thomasville woman, a friend, asking for help in raising the ransom money.

She, instead, contacted the police. The minister had told her he was being held hostage at gunpoint in a Tallahassee, Fla., hotel.

An investigation by Thomasville Police Department detectives began immediately, with the woman and Lewis in constant contact. The minister told his woman friend that the kidnappers had released him and he had a few hours to get the money or “his life would be in danger.”

With the help of his friend, detectives were able to talk with Lewis on the phone. Upon questioning by detectives, it was determined Lewis had lied about being kidnapped they said.

The suspect was arrested Tuesday and charged with false report of a crime

Details for this strory were provided by the Thomasville (Ga.) Times-Enterprise.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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