Over and over and over again, a man calling himself "Nomar" has phoned the 911 emergency dispatch center in Vallejo, California. He sounds desperate, often slurring his speech as he reports that he has overdosed on drugs, engaged in a suicide try, or been involved in a serious traffic accident.
But he doesn't need help - at least not the kind he asks for.
The man is a serial crank caller, police say, and over the past few months he has phoned in some 2,000 alleged emergencies to the dispatch center run by the California Highway Patrol, tying up lines and summoning cops and firefighters to locations where they find no one to help or rescue.
Authorities want to prosecute him but can't find him. They only know that he uses a phone from a group that distributed them to the homeless, that he typically calls from San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, and that he often pretends to be suffering in Vallejo.
Valuable time is spent on "Nomar" - who on Friday morning reported that would-be robbers were following him - rather than on callers with real emergencies. Police officers and firefighters speed through town using their lights and sirens, putting themselves and others at risk.
Police are hoping someone will come forward to identify the caller, who has also referred to himself as "Willie Davis" and "Jeff" and "David" and "Derek." He often reports that he is overdosing on "heron," pronouncing the drug like the great blue bird. He displays a familiarity with Vallejo streets.
Dispatchers have come to recognize the man's relatively high-pitched voice and, when they do, they challenge him on the veracity of his reports. Once he responded, "Ha, ha, you'll never catch me."
The man's location cannot be pinpointed precisely, as it could be if his phone featured a Global Positioning System receiver. The calls cannot be traced to an account because the phone does not have a service carrier and generates no bill. Calls to 911 are free. (info from San Francisco Chronicle)