The town of Aiken, S.C. was thrown into a panic this week after it was reported that a 100-pound mountain lion was on the loose.  Police were told the animal was wearing a harness – and had been declawed – but that didn’t stop residents from freaking out.

Nor did it stop taxpayers from subsidizing a massive police search for the animal …

The only problem?  The report turned out to be a hoax.  In fact, authorities in hamlet have arrested 55-year-old Billy J. Lunsford and charged him with making false statements to law enforcement.

Lunsford told police the three-year-old mountain lion escaped from the town’s Aquarium Pet Store, but authorities later determined no such animal had ever been kept at the facility.

“This town is so boring we have to make up news,” one Aiken resident told FITS.

Courtesy of the Aiken Department of Public Safety, here’s a look at Lunsford …

(Click to enlarge)


(Pic: Aiken DPS)

The Mountain Lion – or Puma Concolor  – is the fourth-largest member of the cat family, with adult males generally standing more than three feet tall and weighing upwards of 150 pounds.