St. Paul woman charged after admitting to falsely reporting kidnapping that set off Amber Alert

St. Paul woman charged after admitting to falsely reporting kidnapping that set off Amber Alert Photo: Tim Zelenak/KSTP.

Updated: April 08, 2021 04:42 PM
Created: April 08, 2021 04:25 PM

A St. Paul woman has been charged in connection with a falsely reported car theft and kidnapping that set off an Amber Alert in February.

According to a criminal complaint, just before 9 p.m. on Feb. 28, 41-year-old Jessica Gallagher reported to 911 that someone had stolen her Honda Pilot while it was parked outside the Rusty Taco on the 500 block of Hennepin Avenue East in Minneapolis and that "my baby's in the car."

When officers arrived, Gallagher told them she had gone inside to pick up her order while her 2-year-old child was asleep in the backseat. She said two males — one of whom she recognized as her ex-boyfriend, Erick Woods — had stolen her car while she was in the store.

Investigators talked to Gallagher's mother, who said that Gallagher had personally dropped off her child between 7:45 and 8 p.m. that night before going on her deliveries and that she had never seen the ex-boyfriend. The child was found safely at her grandmother's house.

After Gallagher positively identified the girl as her daughter, she told a police officer that she had gotten into an argument with Woods outside Rusty Taco, then left her car running while she went to get her order. She said when she came back out, the car and her child were gone.

According to the complaint, investigators made several attempts to follow up with Gallagher before she answered the phone. During the phone call, Gallagher said her ex-boyfriend had her apartment keys, so he met her at the Rusty Taco to return her keys, and he stole her car shortly after. She also said Woods had dropped off her child at the grandmother's house.

When investigators mentioned that the grandmother told them Gallagher — not the ex-boyfriend — had dropped the child off, Gallagher admitted that she had lied when she said her child was in the vehicle. According to the complaint, she lied because she wanted her ex-boyfriend "caught and out of her life."

Gallagher was charged via summons with two misdemeanors: placing a fictitious emergency 911 call to prompt a response and falsely reporting a crime.

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