WINSLOW — An Oakland man was arrested Wednesday evening after allegedly making up a story about a missing 3-year-old boy and triggering a search involving more than 20 emergency responders.

Jacob Terrance Collins, 20, of Fairfield Street, Oakland, was arrested about 8:45 p.m. on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville and charged with making a false public alarm or report and refusing to submit to arrest or detention.

The incident started shortly before 8 p.m. in Winslow when Collins allegedly told a clerk at J&S Oil Xpress Stop convenience store on Bay Street that he was looking for his lost son, according to Winslow Police Chief Shawn O’Leary.

Collins told the clerk that he didn’t want the police called, but his story about the missing child was so convincing that the clerk contacted authorities, O’Leary said.

“It sounded really legitimate,” he said.

With darkness falling, that triggered a call for a general search involving two Winslow Police Department officers, 17 members of Winslow’s Fire Department and three Waterville police officers, O’Leary said.

At the time, emergency crews were responding to a call about a motorcyclist having hit a deer on China Road, O’Leary said. The motorcycle rider was not seriously injured, he said.

After Winslow officers had dealt with the crash, they returned to coordinate the search and were told by Waterville officers that they had stopped a man matching the description of the alleged missing boy’s father on Carter Memorial Drive, according to O’Leary.

Winslow officers questioned the man, but he gave contradictory statements, and officers quickly learned that he didn’t have a child and no one was missing, O’Leary said.

“It was pretty apparent that he fabricated the entire story,” he said.

Collins resisted when officers tried to arrest him, and he was physically restrained, O’Leary said.

False public alarm or report is a class B crime carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, O’Leary said. Making false reports ties emergency personnel to a fake emergency when they might needed for a real one, he said.

“It really diminishes our resources,” he said.

Peter McGuire can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

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