Police: Woman With 'B' Scratched In Face Faked Political Attack
Bloomfield ATM Robbery At Knifepoint Was Made Up, Police Say
POSTED: 4:03 pm EDT October 23, 2008
UPDATED: 6:13 pm EDT October 24, 2008
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh police said a 20-year-old woman who originally said she was robbed and assaulted at knifepoint in Bloomfield because of her political views made the story up.
Ashley Todd -- who has a backward letter "B" scratched into her right cheek -- confessed to faking the story and will be charged with filing a false report, Assistant Police Chief Maurita Bryant said at a news conference Friday.
Todd, of College Station, Texas, admitted there was no robbery or attacker and said she had prior mental health problems, according to Bryant.
It's not yet clear whether Todd's face was mutilated by her, or if she had somebody else do it, because a police report states that she told them she can't remember.
"We suspect she may have inflicted the injuries herself. We don't think anyone else is involved," Bryant said.
Todd said she was driving around in her car, looked in her rear-view mirror, saw a "B," and the first thing she thought of was Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, according to a police report obtained by WTAE Channel 4 Action News.
On Thursday afternoon, police reported that Todd told them she was using a Citizens Bank ATM at Liberty Avenue and Pearl Street when a man approached her and put a knife to her throat just before 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said Todd told them the robber took $60, then became angry when he saw a sticker for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain on Todd's car. Todd said the man punched and kicked her before using a dull knife to scratch her face, Richard said.
"She further stated that the male actor approached her from the back again and hit her in the back of her head with an object, she doesn't know what the object was, causing her to fall to the ground where he continued to punch her and kick her and threaten to 'teach her a lesson' for being a McCain supporter," Richard said Thursday.
The woman refused medical treatment after the alleged assault, which happened outside the view of the bank's surveillance cameras. That seemed suspicious to police.
"We have robbers here in Pittsburgh, but they don't generally mutilate someone's face like that. They take the money and run," Bryant said.
Speaking to Channel 4 Action News on Friday, Richard said police decided to question Todd because the details of her story weren't adding up.
"We have learned that the victim's statement has a few inconsistencies in it and her statement has changed," said Richard.
Richard said Todd said on Friday she wasn't sure if it was a bumper sticker on her car or a campaign button on her jacket that angered the attacker. Richard said Todd added new details to the attack, saying at one point she lost consciousness.
"She also indicated she was sexually assaulted as well. She indicated that when he had her on the ground he put his hand up her blouse and started fondling her. But other than that, she says she doesn't remember anything else. So we're adding a sexual assault to this as well," Richard said.
Police said they gave a polygraph test to Todd, but they didn't release the results. During a follow-up interview, Todd came clean.
"Miss Todd stated she made up the story, which snowballed and got out of control. Miss Todd stated she was not robbed and there was no 6-foot-4 black male attacker," Richard said.
On Thursday, before police said the story was a fake, both the Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin campaigns released statements about the attack.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the young woman for her to make a speedy recovery, and we hope that the person who perpetrated this crime is swiftly apprehended and brought to justice," the Obama-Biden statement said.
"The McCain campaign is aware of the incident involving one of its volunteers. Out of respect, the campaign won't be commenting. The campaign also confirms that Senator McCain and Governor Palin have both spoken to the woman," the McCain-Palin statement said.
I'd like to meet Ms. Todd, and punch her in her whore mouth.