By Tom Mustin
SHERIDAN, Colo. (CBS4) - A man allegedly stabbed by a man who asked him if he was a neo-Nazi was arrested after admitting he made up the story. The story gained international attention in the wake of the Charlottesville riots.
The only problem with the disturbing story? It never happened.
"Some of those stories got pretty twisted out there," Sheridan Police Detective Bryan Valenzuela told CBS4's Tom Mustin.
Last week, 26-year-old Joshua Witt claimed he had been stabbed while getting out of his car in the parking lot of a Steak 'n Shake in Sheridan.
Thursday Witt admitted to Valenzuela he had made the story up.
"In his words, it was just a twisted lie that simply spiraled out of control," said Valenzuela.
Witt, a former Navy sailor, had said an African American man had approached him, saw his military haircut and asked if he was a neo-Nazi. The man then stabbed him and took off.
In the wake of the Charlottesville riots, the story made international headlines. Witt appeared on Inside Edition and gave interviews in the U.K.
"In the times that we're facing, with the violence and the protests, this was more fuel on an unnecessary fire," said Valenzuela.
Witt posted pictures on his Facebook page showing his bloody jeans and hand, along with the caption, "LOLZ. Apparently I look like a neo- Nazi so I got stabbed at."
Valenzuela says after several interviews, Witt's story started to unravel.
"The surveillance in the surrounding video wasn't corroborating what he was reporting to us."
Surveillance video shows Witt buying a knife at the nearby Sportman's Warehouse. Cameras at the Steak 'n Shake showed only Witt by his car.
Witt admitted he accidently cut himself and made up the story so the military would pay for his recovery.
"I confronted him and said this sounds like it was a big accident," said Valenzuela. "So why did it spiral into this big national event?
He stated he was concerned his VA insurance wouldn't cover the injury if it's self-inflicted."
Witt told Valenzuela he thought the story would blow over in a few days.
Now, after a lie that mushroomed beyond his imagination, Witt is preparing to face the music.
"I'm glad he came forth and told the truth," said Valenzuela.
Witt is facing charges of false reporting. He faces a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $2600 fine. He's due in court Sept. 28.
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