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Police: Northern California Amber Alert prompted by 'poorly planned' prank

Posted at 6:46 AM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 17:28:14-05

(KGTV) — Northern California police said Thursday that a reported child abduction that prompted an Amber Alert throughout the state was actually a "poorly planned" prank.

The alert for 15-year-old Georgiana Bambaloi, from Vallejo, was issued late Wednesday for San Diego and three other Southern California counties. Authorities believed that Bambaloi was abducted by a man at a Northern California gas station.

Authorities said at the time that “a male suspect in an orange shirt ran across the parking lot of the ARCO. The suspect grabbed Bambaloi and forced her into a dark grey vehicle that then is driven away eastbound on Guerneville Road.”

Friday, police said she had been located, was safe, and that it turned out not to be a case of child abduction.

"There's been many difficulties with this investigation, including the fact that there was an approximate two and a half hour delay between when the incident occurred, and when it was reported," said Santa Rosa Police Lt. Dan Marincik. "Additionally, the person reporting the incident wasn't in Sonoma County at the time of the report, and detectives ultimately had to travel to the adjoining county to contact them and learn additional information."

Marincik added that there were several language barriers as well as "conflicting information that detectives received."

Marincik said Bambaloi returned home safely, and detectives spoke with her and learned that the incident was actually a "poorly planned decided prank."

Detectives were still working to speak with everyone involved in the incident to gather more information on what occurred.