A federally wanted man from Flanders, who fraudulently identified himself as a member of the US Armed Forces, was arrested by Southampton Town Police earlier this month after he falsely reported a robbery, Southampton Town police said Monday.
Police said on March 2, officers responded to a robbery call around 7:51 p.m. and met the complainant, who identified himself as 19-year-old Jose G. Lerma. The man reportedly told officers that he was robbed at knifepoint by a white female, who stole $350 in cash from him before smashing his cell phone in an attempt to prevent him from calling police. He told investigators that the woman fled the area, which sparked a manhunt by police and a Suffolk County Sheriff canine unit, a news release said.
After a “lengthy investigation” by police, detectives, and a police interpreter, it was revealed that “Hernandez fabricated the entire story, used a false name, and provided a forged Texas drivers license,” police said. Investigators also noted that Hernandez “falsely identified himself as a member of the United States Armed Forces.”
On March 3, 2013 at 1:24 a.m., police arrested Lerma at his home in Flanders. He was taken to Southampton Town police headquarters to be processed on charges of filing a false police report. While in custody at police headquarters, he attacked the processing officers by punching and kicking them, police said. The officers suffered minor injuries.
Police later discovered that Lerma was using a false name. According to police, the man who identified himself as 19-year-old Jose G. Lerma, was in fact Caris Valentin Hernandez, 24, of Flanders. Hernandez was wanted on a federal warrant out of Texas. Police did not specify the out-of-state charges.
Hernandez was charged in Southampton Town with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, third-degree falsely reporting an incident and second-degree harassment. Federal charges remain outstanding, police said.
Fernandez was arraigned at Southampton Town Justice Court, where he was ordered held in the Suffolk County Jail on $10,000 bail. Additionally, he is being held on the federal warrant, which originated in Texas.