NSW police were searching far and wide for the missing Toongabbie man after receiving reports that he had been kidnapped and assaulted shortly after 5 am on Tuesday.
Officers from the state crime command’s robbery and serious crime squad joined forces with the local police to carry out the mission, only to find him safe and sound at a Brighton le Sands café about 7 hours later.
He was in the company of two men aged 28 and 27 and a 24-year-old woman, all of whom were arrested and taken to St George Police Station for questioning.
Detectives accused the 31-year-old man of giving false information resulting in a police investigation and using carriage service to menace; a term refers to the act of harassing using emails, text messages, phone calls or social media.
Police say he was trying to extort money from people known to him while falsely claiming to be a victim of an assault and kidnapping.
Refused bail, the man, will be taken to Sutherland Local Court on Wednesday.
The two other men and woman were released without charge.