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Athens Police Fed Up with Fake Crime Reports

ATHENS, Ga. (CBS/AP) A student calls 911 because she's been beaten and robbed by a man near her home in Athens, Ga.

A soldier befriends strangers at a downtown Athens bar, and after they leave together, the other men rob him at knifepoint.

A man is kidnapped at gunpoint in East Athens by a trio of masked robbers who force him to drive to various ATMs and withdraw a total of $1,000, then lead him to a crack house before letting him go.

These reports look like a wave of violent crime, but they're not.

More people in Clarke County, Ga. seem to be fabricating tales of assaults and robberies these days, and police have become more aggressive in proving the lies and bringing the pretenders to justice, according to police officials.

"This is becoming an epidemic, and now we're taking a stance," Athens-Clarke police Capt. Clarence Holeman of the Centralized Criminal Investigations division said.

"We put a lot of energy into crimes like these," said Holeman. "If a person takes the time to file a complaint that they've been robbed or assaulted, I want to believe them, because that's what we do."

Investigators can spend days or even months lining up interviews, pursuing leads and analyzing whatever was collected at the crime scene or learned later on.

"If we investigate a case and find it's false, we will pursue it until we have enough to arrest someone because they are tying up a lot of people's time, wasting a lot of money and equipment, when we can be focusing on real crime," Holeman said.