The father of a 3-year-old girl was arrested Sunday in California after he claimed his car was stolen with the toddler inside — even though she wasn't — hoping that police could find the car sooner, investigators said.
The Oakland girl was reported missing on Saturday night after her dad told authorities she was in the "stolen" vehicle, police said.
An AMBER Alert was issued for the girl and investigators advised she was abducted "by an unknown suspect."
"Believed to be wearing a pink hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans," police alerted the public that she was taken while inside the dad's silver four-door 2005 Mercedes S430.
On Sunday, police said that the car was recovered — but that the child was still missing. "We need to find the child," police tweeted.
Hours later, investigators said she was with her father earlier in the day, but police said at the time the vehicle was found, she was confirmed to be safe, and in the care of her mother.
The 3-year-old's father was arrested for filing a false police report, according to authorities, who alleged that he lied to police about his daughter being abducted "in hopes police would find car quickly."
The child's father wasn't immediately identified.