S.C. FF Who Faked Abduction Convicted

GREENVILLE, S.C.

A Taylors firefighter who claimed he had been abducted at knifepoint last year was convicted of lying to investigators about the crime on Thursday.

On March 24, 2009, Michael Polston told FOX Carolina in an exclusive interview that as he was loading groceries into his truck at the Walmart on Wade Hampton Boulevard, a man approached him and asked for money and a cigarette.

Polston said that man then forced him to get into his truck and said that he would stick him if he did not do what he said.

Polston said he drove the man around to various destinations around Greenville for nearly 20 minutes, texting his girlfriend and calling 911 during the drive. He said the man then jumped out of the truck near Overbrook Drive and East North Street.

Deputies used K-9 and officers on foot to search the area for the man, but he was never found.

The next day, warrants were signed for the arrest of Michael Brandenmuehl after Polston told investigators he was the man who kidnapped him.

Brandenmuehl was arrested on March 25, 2009, but never charged in connection with the kidnapping and robbery, because deputies said they had developed new information in the case.

On March 26, 2009, deputies said they believe Polston was lying about the encounter between him and Brandenmuehl.

Investigators said Polston actually gave Brandenmuehl a ride voluntarily to a hotel and paid for the room by withdrawing money from an ATM. They said Polston also stopped at a restaurant and obtained change there before he dropped Brandenmuehl off in the parking lot of a drug store on Wade Hampton Boulevard.

Polston then drove to the gas station at the intersection of Overbrook Drive and East North Street, where he called 911 and reported the kidnapping, investigators said.

Brandenmuehl was only charged with a parole violation and faced no charges in connection with the case, deputies said.

On Thursday, a jury found Polston guilty of filing a false police report and unlawful use of 911. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation.

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