A US couple has been charged after they staged a fake robbery and shot themselves in an attempt to get an insurance payout.
Lindsey Pelton and Doug Teixiera claimed masked raiders broke into their home in Deltona, Florida, on 26 October and stole money and jewellery worth $7,000 (£5,350). The pair said they were held at gunpoint and then shot during the invasion.
However, officers quickly concluded that the robbery was staged after they noticed inconsistencies in the story. They allege the plan was to get an insurance pay out from the homeowner, who had previously failed to replace a faulty door lock.
"We found a .22 calibre gun hidden. When they were confronted, they said, 'Oh yeah, yeah, the home invaders didn't bring their own gun. They got hold of our gun.' I mean, the story just fell apart and it stunk from the very beginning."
The couple claimed that they were in the shower when criminals broke a sliding glass door and entered the home. However, police found that the shower and bath mat were both dry. They then checked surveillance footage of the area, and were unable to spot the supposed masked men.
Police on the scene said they also noticed dried blood and the smell of bleach in the house, furthering their suspicions.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the couple created unnecessary stress for their neighbours.
"They make up this story to create a scam so they can sue the homeowner because he wouldn't fix a locked door," said Chitwood. "In the process of doing that, they put fear and panic in the city of Deltona."
Speaking with WFTV-9, one neighbour said she was amazed the couple would go to such lengths:
"Honestly, I'm disappointed. Isn't it easier to get a job than try to commit insurance fraud?"
The couple are now facing charges of providing false information to law enforcement officers and tampering with evidence.