Flagler County Sheriff's Office deputies have arrested a 35-year-old Palm Coast man on multiple charges after he falsely reported a shooting in order to frame his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend, according to deputies.
Ariel Diaz contacted the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s on Dec. 1, 2020, and reported that his vehicle had been shot three times while parked in the driveway of his home on Eastern Place in Palm Coast.
Diaz suggested to FCSO that the suspect was likely his current girlfriend’s jealous ex-boyfriend, who lives in Miami.
The next day, Diaz again contacted FCSO and reported another incident. This time, Diaz said that he'd heard noises in his backyard and seen a shadowy figure in the woodline of his property. Diaz said the unknown person fired a single gunshot at him, then fled.
FCSO deputies, Major Case detectives, Florida Fish and Wildlife and the FCSO K9 Unit were called to the scene and searched the area for hours, but did not find the suspect or any evidence.
While on scene, Diaz showed detectives text messages he claimed to have received, indicating that the jealous ex-boyfriend was taking responsibility for both crimes.
But the detectives determined that the text messages Diaz claimed to receive had actually been sent by Diaz himself, using a mobile app on his smartphone.
Detectives interviewed Diaz on Dec. 28, and he admitted to sending the text messages and fabricating evidence. He also admitted firing his own gun at his property and falsely reporting that he had seen someone shooting at him.
Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Diaz on Jan. 29, 2021, and arrested him.
“This guy thought he could frame someone and waste taxpayer resources searching for a shooter that didn’t exist,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “His antics endangered deputies and the public. Now he knows that when you call FCSO and report a crime, we will not stop looking until we find the person responsible – even if that person is you! The total cost of this investigation was estimated to be over $1,100, and we intend to seek reimbursement to recover the tax payer money that Diaz wasted.”
Diaz was arrested and transported to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility. He is charged with False Report of a Crime, False Report to a Law Enforcement Officer, False 911 Calls, and Fabricating Physical Evidence. He was released after posting a $12,000 bond.