By: Kara Duffy
April 10, 2013
Thomasville, GA - He was kidnapped and needed help - that's the claim Pastor Calvin Lewis made to a female friend in a phone call back on April 1st.
Once the pair hung up, Lewis' friend called Thomasville Police, asking them to step in, because according to Lewis, his life was in danger.
"He said that he was in Tallahassee Florida at a hotel, and he was being held hostage at gunpoint and the kidnappers were demanding money, $10,000 to be exact," Eric Hampton, Thomasville Police Department, said.
Investigators say Lewis, the pastor of Eden Ministry in Bainbridge, went on to tell his friend that he had been badly beaten up by the kidnappers and that she needed to bring the money quickly. After a series of text messages, Lewis told her the ransom had doubled to $20,000.
Investigators say they were eventually able to get in touch with Lewis themselves, and that's when his story began to fall apart.
"All these things were determined by the detectives that the story that he was telling about the money being wanted or he was going to be hurt or killed was not true," Hampton said.
I spoke to Lewis off camera who said the whole incident was an April Fools prank that he took too far. Lewis said he is going to continue to preach, and although he is not proud of what he did, he says it does not define him.
Lewis turned himself in to authorities Tuesday night. He's charged with filing a false police report and making false statements to law enforcement. He was booked into the Thomas County jail but has since been released on bond.