DELTONA, Fla. - Investigators in Volusia County, Florida, said a couple shot themselves as part of an elaborate, fabricated story about a home invasion.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood said it was all part of a plan to get thousands of dollars from the company that manages their rental home.
Deputies surrounded the Hayward Avenue home in Deltona on Oct. 26 in search of two men that the couple said had busted a sliding glass door and shot the two people inside.
Chitwood said the neighborhood was put on edge needlessly.
“They make up this story to create a scam so they can sue the homeowner because he wouldn’t fix a locked door,” Chitwood said. “In the process of doing that, they put fear and panic in the city of Deltona.”
Investigators said Lindsey Pelton, 36, and Doug Teixeira, 35, shot themselves, staged the crime scene and tried to clean things up.
Chitwood said deputies found dry blood and the smell of bleach when they went inside the home.
"We found a .22-caliber gun hidden. When they were confronted, they said, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, the home invaders didn't bring their own gun. They got ahold of our gun.’ I mean, the story just fell apart and it stunk from the very beginning."
Deputies said the couple claimed to have been in the shower when masked intruders came in, but authorities determined that the shower and bath mat were dry. According to a report, a TV was lying on the floor but wasn’t damaged.
Deputies also said surveillance video in the area did not show anyone entering the home.
The couple told deputies a small safe with $7,000 and jewelry inside was stolen from the home, but deputies spoke to the couple’s family members, who said the couple has no money and Pelton’s father was paying for their living expenses.
People who live in the neighborhood were relieved to find out the story about the home invasion wasn't true.
"Honestly, I'm disappointed. Isn't it easier to get a job than try to commit insurance fraud?” said a neighbor, who asked not to be identified.
Pelton and Teixeira will face a judge Wednesday afternoon.
They are facing charges of providing false information to law enforcement officers, which is a misdemeanor charge.
Teixeira is also facing a charge of tampering with evidence.