The teen who shot at Douglas County deputies last fall will be charged with false reporting after calling 911 on Monday to report a robbery he later said didn’t occur, authorities said.
About 2:40 p.m. Monday, dispatchers directed Douglas County deputies to 18-year-old Tyler Pitzl at 280th Street and Bennington Road. Pitzl had just called to report a robbery.
Pitzl told deputies that while driving on Bennington Road, he noticed an overturned four-wheeler and stopped to help the vehicle’s driver, who he said was wearing a yellow shirt and blue jeans. Pitzl told a 911 operator that the person robbed him at knifepoint, took his wallet and watch and threw his car keys into the field before fleeing on the four-wheeler.
Pitzl had called his father, Dennis Pitzl, to bring an extra set of keys, and Dennis Pitzl directed him to call 911.
Deputies who responded could find no four-wheeler tracks or marks in the grassy area. The Omaha Police Department’s helicopter, Able 1, assisted in the search, but the officers in the helicopter also did not see anything, a police spokesman said.
Omaha City Prosecutor Matt Kuhse said Tyler Pitzl recanted the account after investigators told Pitzl they would check nearby surveillance cameras and knock on neighbors’ doors. Pitzl told deputies he had made up the robbery account because he did not want to tell his parents that the items were stolen during a party the night before, Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning said.
Dunning said his office consulted with Kuhse and then issued a citation on Wednesday accusing Pitzl of false reporting, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail. Pitzl is due to appear in court on that charge July 9.
During a phone conversation with a reporter on Thursday, Dennis Pitzl said he couldn’t comment because “we’re fearful of retaliation.”
Dunning disputed the idea that his office would retaliate against the Pitzls.
“(Tyler Pitzl) called us, and we tried to investigate it as professionally as we could,” Dunning said. “When it came to the point when the story wasn’t adding up, he recanted his story. (The Pitzls) can call the Sheriff’s Office at any time and we’ll deal with what we have to deal with.”
Dunning said the report wasted deputies’ time and resources — detectives were called in to investigate the case and paid overtime because of the Memorial Day holiday.
Kuhse said false reporting at any time is “extremely frustrating” for law enforcement.
“While they’re dealing with Mr. Pitzl’s fake story … they’re not able to respond to (other calls) in a timely matter,” Kuhse said.
Tyler Pitzl also is facing five counts in juvenile court stemming from a Sept. 3 incident at his family home in which he’s accused of assaulting his parents and firing shots at two deputies. One deputy was shot in the hand; the other was uninjured.
In November, Douglas County District Judge Marlon Polk decided that Pitzl should be tried as a juvenile in that case.
Law enforcement officials, including Dunning, disagreed with the judge’s decision, saying the juvenile system would not have authority over Pitzl after he turns 19.
Pitzl’s attorney for the juvenile case, James Martin Davis, was out of the country Thursday and was unavailable for comment.