NORTH GREENBUSH, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Rensselaer woman was arrested after a months-long investigation regarding an alleged car theft that police have now determined never happened. Christa Witbeck, 39, faces multiple charges.

Police say back on August 20, Witbeck called to report her 2008 Ford Taurus was stolen from the Van Rennselaer Square parking lot while she was shopping. About twenty minutes later, police say the Averill Park Fire Department and New York State Police responded for a vehicle fire, which they identified as the same car Witbeck reported stolen.

Both police agencies launched a joint investigation, and say that from the beginning, both had their suspicions about the case. According to law enforcement, Witbeck’s stories had inconsistencies, and additional evidence they received wasn’t adding up. Police say the major elements of the story she reported began to unravel.

On Friday, the North Greenbush Police arrested Witbeck. She was released to return to the North Greenbush Town Court at a later date.


  • Third-degree falsely reporting an incident
  • Third-degree filing a false statement

New York State Police have also charged her with additional counts. They also arrested her alleged male conspirator who is believed to have started the car fire, according to police. The alleged conspirator was not named by the North Greenbush Police, due to the fact he is not facing charges within their jurisdiction.