Thursday, July 31, 2008

Boy arrested for hundreds of false 911 calls

A 12 year-old boy from West Memphis, Arkansas was arrested for making obscene and threatening 911 calls.

According to Thomas Martin with the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department, the child started making the calls in May. Martin say he made about 350 911 calls in just one month. The calls started as hang-ups, but then the kid started making threats and saying very obscene things to the 911 operators. Some of the calls were so bad, the kid made some of the operators cry.

Investigators discovered that the first set of calls were made from a pre-paid cellphone and blocked calls made from that number.

Martin says when the calls started again, investigators tracked them to a cellphone that had been deactivated. Sheriff’s officials worked with the phone company to track down the child using the phone’s GPS device.

Martin says the boy was arrested at his home and has been charged as a juvenile with making Terroristic, Threatening and Harassing Communications. (info from ABC TV, Memphis)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Serial bank robber called 911 to surrender,
while house was surrounded by police

In 2006, Indianapolis police made an arrest following a bank robbery in which the robber left behind his birth certificate, and the crime was captured on surveillance video. Rodney Harper dropped a check cashing card as well as a bill from a phone showing he paid his phone bill," said Marion County sheriff's Capt. Phil Burton. The videotape shows the identification falling out onto the floor when the man pulls out his gun.

Police said Harper got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, but it was recovered, covered in dye, not far from the bank. Harper called 911 on Tuesday as police surrounded his home.

"I'm wanting to turn myself in. The police are outside the house right now. I just wanted to let them know I don't have any weapons. I just want to come out," Harper told a 911 dispatcher.

Burton admitted that the robber's missteps made investigators' job a bit easier. "When they actually rob a bank with their ID, which they leave for us, that's very helpful," Burton said. Harper was already on parole after a 1995 bank robbery. (info from

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

School janitor faked gunshot sounds in 911 calls

A former Indiana school janitor has been sentenced to three years in prison for making false 911 calls about a gunman inside the school.

Shaun Starks made the calls from inside Franklin Community High School in May 2007, reporting that there was a man with a gun inside the school. Police say Starks imitated the sound of a gunshot by smacking a rolled-up piece of paper on a desk.

He was charged with felony intimidation and two counts of misdemeanor false informing. According to Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner, Starks didn't give a reason for making the calls. During his arrest last year, police said he told them he had been bullied by students and this was a way of retaliating. (info from The Indianapolis Star)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Firefighters used fake prize to nab 911 prank caller
who was exercizing "lazy" firefighters

Knoxville, Tennessee Fire Department investigators used a ruse of their own to nab a man suspected of making a series of bogus emergency calls.

After receiving a false report of a gas leak in December, 2006, firefighters compared notes. They confirmed 15 fake 911 calls over a two-month period, including four house fires, six car crashes, plus medical emergencies, all coming from the same cellphone.

They called the number and left a message saying the phone's owner had won a gift card from a major retailer. Within an hour, Fire Capt. Brent Seymour received a call back from a man identifying himself as the phone's owner. "He willingly gave his name and address," Seymour said. "I told him I would be sending the gift card." But that wasn't quick enough to suit the man. He wanted the gift card in time for Christmas, so investigators set up a meeting for that evening.

Seymour said he waited only a few minutes in a parking lot before suspect Jason Harms arrived, identified himself as the gift card recipient, and was arrested.

Seymour said Harms' first words were, "You can't prove it." But Judge Charles Cerny found the evidence strong enough to send 15 felony counts of making false reports to a grand jury. Harms said he was doing taxpayers a favor by drawing otherwise lazy firefighters out of their cozy fire halls. (info from Associated Press)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Man arrested after calling 911 to say he didn't want to be arrested

Early in the morning in early July, Keegan Burkhart was screaming obscenities in his Lutz, Florida apartment. When a deputy sheriff tried to get him to calm down, Burkhart called 911 to tell dispatchers he didn't want to go to jail.

When he did it a second time, Burkhart was arrested and taken to jail.

According to the official report, at 1:30 a.m. deputies responded because Burkhart was disturbing the peace. He continued to scream obscenities in front of a deputy and witnesses, "without regards to the apartment's tenants while they were sleeping."

He was asked to stop but refused and continued shouting, and called 911 "because he did not want to go to jail."

Burkhart, said the deputy, did not need to call for deputies because deputies were already there. So Burkhart was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and making a false 911 call, both misdemeanors. Burkhart was released from jail on $750 bond. (photo & info from Tampa Bay Online)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

911 worker arrested for child porn

An employee of Metro 911 in Charleston, West Virginia was charged with child pornography and suspended from his job without pay. James Sorgman was arrested after a search of his home turned up several child pornography images on a computer, including images of his daughter taken when she was between 12 and 14.

Sorgman was a 911 dispatcher for 16 years before being promoted to the administrative staff working on the county's mapping program.

The West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children task force first discovered child pornography had been downloaded from a computer at Sorgman's home. The Kanawha Bureau of Investigation then took over the investigation. When officers searched his home, Sorgman admitted to downloading and saving several files of child pornography. (info & photo from WCHS)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Woman told 911 that deputies held cat hostage

A woman in Englewood, Florida was arrested Monday after placing five non-emergency 911 calls and accusing deputies of holding her cat hostage.

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from Melissa Venerable, claiming she beat up her boyfriend and needed to be arrested. When deputies arrived, Venerable was uncooperative and hostile, and denied everything.

While talking at the door, Venerable's cat ran out. She refused to talk any more until they caught her cat. She called 911 again. Deputies caught her cat and offered to give it to her, but she refused to open the door, so deputies let the cat go and left.

Venerable called 911 three more times, complaining that deputies were holding her cat hostage. She was warned to stop using 911 unless it was an emergency, or she would be arrested.

When deputies returned, Venerable's boyfriend was there and denied knowing anything. After Venerable admitted calling 911 and threatening her boyfriend, she grabbed a deputy's arm and pushed him out the door. Venerable was charged with two felonies, Battery on an Officer, and Abuse of 911 System. She was taken to Jail. (info & photo from WWSB TV)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Taped-up robbery victim dialed 911 with nose

A clerk at a Dollar General Store in Athens, Tennessee who was duct-taped to a display by a robber, knocked a phone handset off the hook with her foot and dialed 911 using her nose.

Detective Heith Willis said the clerk had just opened the store Saturday when a man came in, told her he had a gun and ordered her to open the safe. Willis said the man grabbed a money bag and some cash, then taped the clerk and left. Police found the woman still taped but unharmed.

“This one was unusual,” Detectives Willis said. (info from Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Man killed wife, gave corpse first aid, called 911

According to a Wisconsin sheriff’s department, Carl J. McDaniel shot his wife, then provided first aid for her wound and then called 911. McDaniel was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of his wife September 24, 2007 in their home. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Detective Margaret Herrmann said McDaniel acknowledge shooting his wife with a shotgun. "He said he loaded it six days prior."

McDaniel allegedly told Herrmann his wife was seated on the couch eating dinner and the gun was leaning on the fireplace. He said he picked up the shotgun and carried it back to the couch as he wanted his wife to look at the sight on the gun, but she wanted to finish eating and the two argued about that. (info from the Waukesha County Freeman)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Two idiots arrested after calling 911 to buy drugs.

Two men in Pomona, California were busted last April after they mistakenly called 911 while trying to page a drug dealer. Paul White and Ryan Ogle tapped 911 as an urgent code to the dealer when they made the call from a pay phone.

"No one said criminals are smart," Police Sgt. Michael Olivieri said.

Cops traced the call and directed a patrol officer to the pay phone. He saw two men standing near the phone and a parked vehicle, which turned out to be stolen. The officer searched the men and the car and found possible burglary tools, a shaved ignition key, and a methamphetamine pipe.

The men were booked for investigation of auto theft, possession of burglary tools, destruction of evidence, and parole violation. Ogle was cited on a misdemeanor charge and released. White, who was on parole for a previous burglary violation, was being held on a parole violation. "They admitted they were in a hurry for dope and made an error in dialing," Olivieri said. (info from The Associated Press)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Robber let victim call 911.

A gunman robbing a convenience store in Altamonte Springs, Florida, allowed a clerk to call 911 and apologized after the woman said she might be having a heart attack -- but he still took $30 and cigarettes.

The masked man entered the Kangaroo Express store last April and pointed a pistol at clerk Mary Parker. He told her to empty the cash register into a bag. He then pulled up a stool for her to sit on, and told her he was stealing because no one would hire him and he had bills to pay.

She started hyperventilating and pleaded with the gunman for help. "I have heart trouble. I'm probably going to have a heart attack," Parker said.

"Oh my, ma'am, please do not have a heart attack," he said.

The gunman let Parker call 911, and she told the operator she was having a heart attack, but didn't mention the robber. A customer came in and, without seeing the gunman, tried to calm Parker. She handed him the phone, and he spoke to the 911 operator.

The gunman then reappeared and told the man to get into the beverage cooler. He then grabbed his loot and apologized again. "You have a good day. I'm sorry this had to happen." he moaned, and went out the door. Police said Parker is OK. (info from The Associated Press)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Serial bank robber called 911 to surrender,
while house was surrounded by police

In 2006, Indianapolis police made an arrest following a bank robbery in which the robber left behind his birth certificate, and the crime was captured on surveillance video.

Rodney Harper also dropped a check cashing card as well as a paid phone said Marion County sheriff's Capt. Phil Burton. The videotape shows the identification falling out onto the floor when the man pulled out his gun.

Police said Harper got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, but it was recovered, covered in dye, not far from the bank. Harper called 911 as police surrounded his home.

"I'm wanting to turn myself in. The police are outside the house right now. I just wanted to let them know I don't have any weapons. I just want to come out," Harper told a 911 dispatcher.

Burton admitted that the robber's missteps made investigators' job a bit easier. "When they actually rob a bank with their ID, which they leave for us, that's very helpful," Burton said. Harper was already on parole after a 1995 bank robbery. (info from

Monday, July 14, 2008

Man called 911 to be rescued from police.

In July of 2007, a man in Largo, Florida, was arrested after he called 911 and told a dispatcher he was surrounded by police officers and needed help.

Police first encountered Dana Shelton after being called to investigate a disturbance at a bar on Sunday but had found no problems and told him to move along.

Shelton then called 911 to report he was "surrounded by Largo police."

Shelton, who officers said appeared intoxicated, was charged with misdemeanor misuse of 911. The charge carries maximum penalties of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. (info from The Assocuiated Press)

Friday, July 11, 2008

False 911 call ended in drug arrest

Police in Shreveport, LA, broke down the door to a home after a call to 911 that someone had been shot.

When police arrived, they found no one had actually been shot, but the man who called 911 was actually having an adverse reaction to illegal drugs he had injested. He had his girlfriend hide under a blanket while he ran out of the house to call police. The man was taken into custody and charged with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. His girlfriend was charged with possession of marijuana. (info from KSLA TV)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

911 robbery call ignored for half hour

Police in New Albany, Kentucky are reviewing how they handle emergency calls after a woman received no response for nearly a half hour after calling 911 to report a robber in her home.

A dispatcher mistakenly deleted the record of the call from the system and didn’t become aware of the error until the woman’s relative called later. “We made a mistake,” police Lt. Col. Mike Lawrence said.

In the time between the two calls, the armed robber took jewelry from the home and tied the hands of the victim with an electrical cord before he left. A suspect was still being sought.

At 1:46 a.m. on June 4, Katerina Videnova called 911 after hearing someone in her home, according to the police report. But the robber grabbed the phone and hung up before a dispatcher answered.

The dispatcher, after answering the call and getting no response, began entering information about the “911 hang-up” into a computer where another dispatcher would see it and send officers to the location, Lawrence said. The computer gives the initial dispatcher a choice to accept what was typed and enter it into the system or to delete it, and the dispatcher accidentally gave the delete command while believing she had given the accept command. “That’s where the mistake was,” Lawrence said.

So the information never reached the second dispatcher who would have sent officers to respond.

Videnova later called family members who were traveling out-of-state and they called police who then quickly responded.

Since the incident, the department has decided to change its procedures to add a step. Now, the dispatcher who inputs the information confirms on the screen or through voice communication with the other dispatcher that it was received. Officers were planning to meet to consider other possible changes. (info from Louisville Courier-Journal)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Drug buyer called cops and was arrested

When Max Minnefield of East Hartford, Connecticut didn't get the item he paid for Monday night, he called the police. But when an officer arrived, it was Minnefield who got arrested. What he had tried to buy, was crack cocaine.

Minnefield was charged with criminal attempt to commit possession of narcotics, a charge that was quickly dropped during his arraignment Tuesday, where court personnel worked hard to stifle chuckles.

"You called the police to complain that you didn't receive drugs for your $8?" a smiling Judge Bradford Ward said. "Did you really think the police were going to go after the people?" Minnefield's public defender pointed out that no drugs were found, so the state made the right decision to drop the case.

Late Monday, Officer Larry Henrickson was dispatched to a rooming house where Minnefield lives. When he arrived, he heard a heated argument going on behind the building. Minnefield told him that a man and a woman had stolen $8 from him.

"I asked him how they had gotten his $8," Henrickson wrote in his report, "and he stated that he had given them the money for crack but he got nothing back." (info from Hartford Courant)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Man arrested for non-emergency 911 calls

It was bad enough, Tampa, Florida police say, when they found out that the man who called 911 did so because his friends were bothering him. But Estanislao Vallejo Lopez kept calling 911 after he was warned that the number is only for emergencies. Finally, after four calls, he was arrested.

Police first arrived at his home at 3:25 a.m. After being warned about making frivolous calls to 911, Vallejo told police that he "would call 911 again until he gets an officer to respond." He kept his word.

With police still at the scene, Vallejo called 911 again at 3:42 a.m. And again at 4:04 a.m.

Police finally left, but had to return once more. For the fourth time in about an hour, Vallejo called 911 again at 4:20 a.m.

This time, police did not let him make any more calls. They arrested Vallejo and charged him with making false 911 calls, a misdemeanor. He was released at 2:51 p.m. on $500 bail, according to jail records, which list Vallejo as a pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates. (info from Tampa Bay Online)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Man busted after calling cops from stolen phone

A man in Duluth, Minnesota was arrested after he called police on a cellphone he found in a purse he allegedly snatched. Police said he approached a woman at a pool hall shortly after midnight and asked for a cigarette, then grabbed the purse as she was opening it and ran off.

Less than 90 minutes later, the suspect called police from the woman's phone to say he had been mugged. Police Sgt. Don Boso said it appeared to the arresting officer that the man had not been attacked but rather was intoxicated and wanted a ride home. The woman identified the suspect as the man who stole her purse. (info from The Associated Press)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

911 chief charged with spending county money for sex pills & hotel trysts

The emergency services director of Nicholas County, West Virginia was charged in June with wrongly spending more than $500 in county money, including more than $400 in repairs to his assistant's car and $30 on a product that claims it improves male sexual performance.

Alfonso Derito Jr. purchased a $67 room at the Quality Inn hotel in Fayetteville for himself and a female co-worker using a county credit card according to criminal complaints. He turned the purchase order in to the county in March. Derito stayed at the hotel at least five times, according to the complaint.

"On at least three of these occasions, the defendant traveled to the hotel in a county registered vehicle, in the company of a female co-worker for non-work related matters," State Police Sgt. B.L. Mankins wrote in the complaint.

In October, Derito bought a $30 package of Enzyte, which claims to be a natural male enhancer, with a County Commission Wal-Mart card. "This product was purchased with other items to be used at or for the Nicholas County 911 center," Mankins wrote in the complaint. Derito didn't list the Enzyte when he completed the purchase order for the Wal-Mart trip, but he did include the cost of the pills, according to the complaint.

In April, Derito and EMS administrative assistant Robin Christie Evans took her car to a service station for repairs. Once the car was repaired, Derito told the service station owner to bill the Nicholas County Office of Emergency Services. Derito completed the purchase order for $422 in repairs the same day, according to the complaint.

Derito is charged with three felony counts of falsifying accounts. Evans is also charged with one count of falsifying accounts for the work done to her car.

Mankins said he couldn't say for sure whether Derito and Evans were in a relationship. "Both admitted to going to the hotel on at least three occasions to sit and talk," he said. (info from the Charleston Gazette)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

911, someone took my steering wheel

A guy walked into a bar and asked the bartender to give him a shot of tequilla. The man downed the first one, slammed the glass on the bar and immediately asked for another.

The bartender gave him another shot. The man downed it and slammed the glass on the bar again. He repeatedly asked for shots of tequilla until the bartender refused to give him anymore.

Disgustedly the man left the bar cussing and yelling at the bartender and making a complete fool of himself. About two minutes later the drunk came running back in the bar in panic. He urgently asked the bartender to hand him the phone.

The drunk took the phone and dialed 911. When the police answered, the man said, "Somebody broke into my car. They took my steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal, even my dashboard."

The police said that they would be there in a few minutes. The man walked out of the bar again, and returned a few minutes later. He picked up the phone and dialed 911 again. When the police answered the man said, "I just called about a car that had been broken into and vandalized. Never mind -- I mistakenly got in the back seat."
It's a joke.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Drug dealer called 911 to report stolen pot.

A stupid drug dealer in Wichita, Kansas was busted after he called 911 to report that he was the victim of an armed robbery in December, 2006.

The victim told police that a buyer pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and stole a pound of marijuana worth about $1,100 that he had been trying to sell.

The cops brought in a drug-sniffing dog and located more pot, plus drug paraphernalia. The victim was booked on multiple charges, including possession with the intent to sell drugs. The robber has not been apprehended. (info from The Associated Press)