A Florida couple who claimed two men burst into their home and shot them during a home invasion were arrested on Tuesday after police discovered their story was an elaborate scam to collect fraudulent insurance payouts, authorities said.
Doug Teixerra, 35, and Lindsay Pelton, 36, of Deltona, were charged with tampering with physical evidence and giving false information to police stemming from the bogus Oct. 26 incident.
"They put this elaborate scam together to sue the homeowner, but what they did residually was they put fear into a neighborhood," Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told Fox 35, "and then they cost us thousands of dollars in this investigation."
The couple told police that two men entered their home on the afternoon of Oct. 26 and, following an exchange, Teixeira was shot in the leg and Pelton in the arm. They then had cops search for made-up suspects, which they said fled in a vehicle, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
Police determined that no one broke into the home, Chitwood told the newspaper, and found it odd that the residence was filled with dried blood and the smell of bleach.
“If this incident just occurred and they called police right away, why would you have dried blood and why do we have bleach all over the house?” Chitwood said.
What actually happened, according to police: the couple shot themselves in a bid to “collect money” from the homeowner. Pelton’s father told authorities he paid rent for the couple, although it was not immediately clear who owned the home. Their injuries were not life-threatening.
Police say the couple even had a lawyer for insurance proceedings, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. Teixeira and Pelton were being held on $3,500 and $1,000 bail, respectively, on Tuesday.