Thursday, April 30, 2009

Councilman abused 911 to get ride for drunken friend

The prosecutor reviewing Capitola, California Councilman Kirby Nicol's March 26 call to 911 asking police to give a drunken friend a ride home said Tuesday that public resources were "abused."

A Capitola police officer responded to the 3 a.m. call at Nicol's home and drove Nicol's friend home. Nicol had organized a barbecue and served wine, and neither he nor his friend were in shape to drive.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Isaac said Tuesday his review is not yet complete, but he has made several findings. He said California Government Code 8314 "clearly applies."

This section states: "It is unlawful for any elected state or local officer, including any state or local appointee employee, or consultant, to use or permit others to use public resources for a campaign activity, or personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law."

The same section of the law states that "incidental and minimal use of public resources" by an elected official "shall not be subject to prosecution." Isaac called Nicol's 911 call more than incidental because it involved the 911 emergency system, the use of a police car and the time of a police officer.

Civil penalties, not criminal, apply, according to Isaac, quoting the code: "Any person who intentionally or negligently violates this section is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each day on which a violation occurs, plus three times the value of the unlawful use of public resources." Isaac said no decision has been made on whether there was criminal action.

He noted that during the call, Nicol identified himself as the mayor, a position he relinquished in December, but did not claim there was an emergency.

If the district attorney were to prosecute, Isaac said his office would work with city officials to put a value on the public resources expended. A payment would resolve the situation, but if there were a dispute, it could go to court, he added.

Nicol apologized last week when a recording of the 911 call was made public. At Thursday's City Council meeting, he apologized again and said he would reimburse the city. "Everybody know I have admitted to a mistake, and I've apologized for that," said Nicol, declining to comment until the review is complete. "I'm very contrite. I want to do what's right." (info from San Jose Mercury News)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crime TV fan called 911 to see real cops in action

Justin Schulze of Woonsocket, Rhode Island faces charges after police said he made a series of phony bomb threats and fake 911 calls earlier this month.

According to police, Schulze called 911 and reported there were bombs at both a theater and a school. Police said Schulze later made calls about a murder and a shooting at the building where he lives.

All of the calls turned out to be unfounded. “He said he wanted to see police and fire respond in real life. He watches a lot of TV and he wanted to see us respond,“ said Det. Sgt. Todd Fernandes of the Woonsocket Police Department.

“At some point we started to realize that the calls were from the same number and the same male was making the those calls, and some officers even believed them to be crank calls at that point. But you have to approach every case like it’s real,“ Fernandes said.

Police were able to trace the 911 calls to a cellphone. Schulze had taken the phone from a friend of his without that person’s knowledge, police said.

Police said Schulze was watching the drama unfold around him from his room, which is near the theater and across from the school.

And though all of the potential emergencies turned out to be false, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t any harm done. “It’s extremely dangerous. It took up to three hours of patrol officers’ time, not to mention the fire department responding with lights and sirens putting other people at risk,“ Fernandes said.

Schulze was being held on $50,000 bail with surety and was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation. (info from WJAR TV)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Man punched his own face, reported father to 911, and got arrested

During a domestic dispute in Antwerp, New York yesterday, Preston Spencer called 911 about his father, and was arrested for violating an order of protection.

When Sheriff's deputies arrived, Spencer was in the driveway and said he didn't want his dad arrested. Instead, Spencer was arrested for violating an order of protection to stay away from his father.

Spencer's father said the two had argued over whether Spencer's girlfriend would be allowed to visit the home. Spencer head-butted his father, then stood up and punched his own face several times.

His father declined to press any further charges beyond the criminal contempt charge filed by deputies. (info from

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not a wacky call, but potentially tragic, so read

Early on Wednesday morning, Megan Hester of Volusia County, Florida, decided to leave her house to fill up her gas tank at a convenience store. She left her four- and six-year-old children alone.

When they awoke and realized they were alone, the six-year-old boy called 911 to say that their mother had left them home alone. "Um, mommy left us," the child said to the 911 operator. "It's Megan's son. Mommy left us."

Volusia County deputies said the boy woke up just before 2 a.m. to find his mother gone. That's when the boy called 911 and told the operator that he and his 4-year-old sister were home alone.

"Can you look out the window and tell me if mommy's car is there?" the operator asked the boy. "No, there's no car," he said. "We're out in the garage and there's no car."

The operator kept the child on the line and asked him to turn on a movie to entertain his sister. The boy then told the operator that his sister was scared earlier, but he made her feel better.

"When we were freaked out, I told my sister, 'You need to go to sleep and stay calm until tomorrow. I think she's coming back,'" the boy said.

Hester returned more than half an hour later to find her children in the company of a deputy. The 23-year-old mother said she ran to get gas while the children were sleeping. She said she wasn't gone very long, but the deputy said Hester was gone at least 30 minutes.

Deputies said Hester didn't seem impaired in any way and the house was clean. The children were OK, despite the scare. Hester was charged with felony child neglect. (info from WESH TV)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Man was arrested for three fake 911 calls and went to Al Capone's jail

Yesterday, police in Bartlett, Illinois announced the arrest of a man who they said made three false 911 calls, including one Friday about an armed robbery. Kelly Williams was arrested Friday and charged with three felony counts of disorderly conduct.

Authorities say Williams called police and reported a man with a gun near his home, and that he'd made two similar phone calls with false reports the last two months. Police continue to investigate the motive.

Williams was taken to Cook County Jail and awaits a bond hearing. In 1931, mobster Al Capone was sent to the same jail, but not for crank calls. (info from The Daily Herald and the FBI)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Man wanted to be with a woman, and dialed 911 to get cop out of his way

James Rush was so smitten with a woman he met last week in a bar in Naperville, Illinois that he called in a phony 911 report of gunfire.

Rush now faces trial on a charge of placing a false 911 call. The police report indicated he did so in the hope officers who were checking on the welfare of a drunken woman would race off to investigate the "gunshots," giving Rush the opportunity to take the woman home.

The incident began shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday, when a patrol officer went to investigate a sport utility vehicle that had stopped in the middle of LaSalle Avenue just east of Route 59 and not far from Breaktime Billiards, a sports bar and grill.

A woman and a man were standing on the pavement next to the SUV and walked away as the officer approached them. The officer quickly caught up with the pair outside a nearby automotive body shop.

The woman was leaning against a wall and the man, later identified as Rush, "was next to her with his arms around her," according to the report. Both appeared to have been drinking, and Rush insisted they were together and would be returning to the bar.

A female employee of the bar approached the officer as Rush and the woman were walking away. The employee said the woman had come to the bar with another man who had since left the premises, and the now-drunken woman "had been going from guy to guy in the bar."

The officer said he watched as the woman began running through a parking lot with Rush in pursuit. "They got to the grassy area along Route 59, and the female was on the ground and the male was down next to her," the officer wrote in the report.

After racing to the scene, the officer offered to call a taxicab for the woman, "and she said to please do so (as) she wanted to go home," the report indicated. She added she did not know Rush and had just met him that evening.

Rush "said he would take her home, and I told him to leave and I would get her home in a cab," the officer wrote. Rush then began walking toward an apartment complex where he lives.

Another bar employee then offered to drive the woman to her home. The two left soon after.

A few minutes later, a police emergency radio dispatcher directed the officer and another patrolman to the intersection of North Aurora Road and Route 59, following a 911 call of six gunshots having been fired there.

Dispatchers tried seven times to reconnect with the 911 caller on his wireless telephone, the report indicated. Police soon determined the phone belonged to Rush.

The officers caught up with Rush, who denied placing the call, even as "the phone in the man's pocket started ringing" with yet another call from the dispatchers, the report stated.

"I again asked him why he called 911, and this time he told me he called in the 911 call to get me out of the area, so he could go back and pick up the girl before the cab came," the officer wrote in the report.(info from the Naperville Sun)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Afer drunk mother threatened death, kid called 911 from back of car

A mother in Boca Raton, Florida was charged with child neglect after she drove drunk with her kids in the car. Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies arrested Belinda Leighton on Easter Sunday after her son called 911 from the back seat and reported what was happening.

The children, ages 9 and 13, said Leighton spent the morning drinking wine and beer and then decided to go for a drive. At times, they said, she drove faster than 100 mph and came close to hitting a fire truck.

During the ride, Leighton told the kids she "had it" and was going to kill them and herself by crashing the car.

Deputies found Leighton at a friend's house. As deputies questioned her, she requested they take her children and put them in foster care. (info from WPBF TV)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Confused cops greeted by gun-toter at wrong house after 911 call about gun

Police in Frisco, Texas are reviewing their procedures after officers stormed the wrong house in response to a 911 call about a domestic incident that ended in a murder-suicide over the weekend. Officers found the correct home 12 minutes after the initial 911 call. But by then, William Taylor had shot and killed his wife, Mary Redwine, and himself.

The confusion started when a male caller told a 911 dispatcher that help was needed at 9130 Palace Place, where a 12-year-old girl's father was holding a gun to the girl's mother's head.

But while the house number was correct, the street name was not. The call was made from 4050 Palace Place, but the girl's mother was being held at gunpoint around the corner, at 9130 Apollo Court. Dispatchers issued an alert of a gunshot victim at 4050 Palace Place.

The confusion continued after the girl called 911 after making her way to a neighbor's house and gave her home address again. "Are you sure of the street?" the dispatcher asked the young girl. "Yes, 9130," she replied. "OK, because that's not coming up for me," the dispatcher said.

As police arrived at the house the 911 call was made from, the woman inside mistook the approaching officers for the gunman. Panicked, her husband pulled out his gun, and the woman called 911.

"There's someone trying to get in our house now," the woman told the dispatcher. "He has a gun ... Hurry."

The dispatcher relayed the report to the responding officers, who broke down the door and entered the residence.

"I think the job done was exceptional, and everybody did an outstanding job in their response," Frisco police Public Information Officer Ray Jewitt said. (info from Dallas News)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Unhappy woman called 911 for a ride to jail

Martha Crooks of Jacksonville Florida was arrested after demanding that officers put her in jail -- and with a last name like Crooks, they were happy to comply.

Crooks called 911 and told dispatchers that she was unhappy with where she was living and that she wanted a ride to jail or the hospital. Dispatchers told her that she should get a taxi if she needed a ride to the hospital and that her call was an inappropriate use of the emergency phone service.

Undaunted, Crooks threatened to continually call 911 until the police complied with her wish. The tactic worked. Crooks was put in the Duval County jail. Court records indicate she has been arrested prior for misuse of the 911 system. Bond was set at $1,503. She's probably in no hurry to leave. (info from The Weekly Vice)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Boy called 911 for help with math homework

Operator: 911 emergencies.
Boy: Yeah I need some help.
Operator: What’s the matter?
Boy: With my math.
Operator: With your mouth?
Boy: No with my math. I have to do it. Will you help me?
Operator: Sure. Where do you live?
Boy: No with my math.
Operator: Yeah I know. Where do you live though?
Boy: No, I want you to talk to me on the phone.
Operator: No I can’t do that. I can send someone else to help you.
Boy: Okay.
Operator: What kind of math do you have that you need help with?
Boy: I have take aways.
Operator: Oh you have to do the take aways.
Boy: Yeah.
Operator: Alright, what’s the problem?
Boy: Um, you have to help me with my math.
Operator: Okay. Tell me what the math is.
Boy: Okay. 16 take away 8 is what?
Operator: You tell me. How much do you think it is?
Boy: I don’t know, 1.
Operator: No. How old are you?
Boy: I’m only 4.
Operator: 4!
Boy: Yeah.
Operator: What’s another problem, that was a tough one.
Boy: Um, oh here’s one. 5 take away 5.
Operator: 5 take away 5 and how much do you think that is?
Boy: 5.
Woman: Johnny what do you think you’re doing?!
Boy: The policeman is helping me with my math.
Woman: What did I tell you about going on the phone?
Operator: It’s the mother…
Boy: You said if I need help to call somebody.
Woman: I didn’t mean the police.

(info from Entertonement (CLICK to hear recording).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Man arrested for 37 minutes of wacky 911 calls

Lester Thurman of Bryan, Texas was charged with making abusive 911 calls. He made at least eight calls on Saturday, and officers responded at least four times. One call was because his cellphone charger was missing.

Other reasons for the 911 calls were: a theft that happened months ago, a person preventing him from closing the bedroom door, and someone talking about him on the other line.

One of the officers who responded remembered Thurmon from a call in January. Police said he called them to say his roommate had taken his food away and he couldn't eat. (info from KBTX)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Insufficient shrimp? Call 911

Recently we've heard of 911 complaint calls about McDonald's and a pizza place.

Now it's time for a Chinese restaurant to cause a call to the cops.

On Monday, a woman in Hamtom City, Texas called 911 to report she didn't get as much shrimp as she wanted in her fried rice at a restaurant.

In the taped emergency call the customer asked the dispatcher, "to get a police officer up here, what has to happen?" The customer also said: "He didn't even put extra shrimp in there." The upset customer was gone when an officer arrived.

Restaurant workers say the woman had been denied a refund after leaving with her order, then returning to complain. Cook June Lee said there was nothing wrong with the meal, and that "some customers are happy. Some are not." (info from

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Drunk called 911 for ride to detox, and opened a beer in cop car

A man called 911 in Tampa, Florida several times Sunday night to say he was drunk and needed a ride to an alcohol detoxification center. An operator said police would come to the man and that he should stop calling 911.

An officer drove to the specified address and the caller got into the car for the ride to detox. During the trip, the man opened a beer in the back seat of the police car.

Police charged James Ayers Jr. with misuse of the wireless 911 system. He also was ticketed for possession of an open alcohol container. His bail was set at $500. (info from Tampa Bay Online)

Monday, April 6, 2009

911 operator helped woman open car door

A woman who thought she was locked inside her car was helped to escape by a 911 dispatcher in Kissimmee, Florida last week.

“My car will not start, I'm locked inside my car. I cannot open my car. I can't get the windows down,” the caller said. “Nothing electrical works. And it's getting very hot in here and I'm not feeling well. And I need some help.”

The dispatcher told the woman she should be “able to pull the lock up on the door even if it’s electrical.”

The caller said she tried that, but she tried again and was able to unlock the door and get out. (info from Central Florida News, photo from

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Drug buyers busted after calling 911

On Tuesday night, two people who were in Cincinatti suburb Lincoln Heights, Ohio to buy Oxycontin illegally, called 911 after they were ripped off in the transaction.

Police say they were called for a report of trouble. Once there, they were greeted by a man and a woman who stated they were robbed by a man who drove away from the scene.

After further investigation, Tiffany Dople admitted to police she was there to buy 60 Oxycontin pills. Police searched her and discovered 10 unknown pills on her. Dople said she was going to pay $25 a piece for the pills, leading her to lose $1,725 to the suspect who drove away.

Police also arrested James Carver at the scene. Carver told officers he was "buying the pills when the subject took his money."

Both are charged with felony drug possession. The pills allegedly found on Dople have been sent away for testing.

Police took a statement from Carver on the man who allegedly robbed them.

A judge set his bond at $5,000. Dople was released on her own recognizance. (info from

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Woman couldn't reach 911 with cellphone or landline

A woman in Arizona says she has a cellphone for one reason and that's just in case she ever has an emergency she can dial 911. However, when she had an emergency, she couldn't get through to 911.

"I couldn't believe it, I was running around like a crazy person," Lori Rodriguez said. "I was hollering at my mother-in-law, 'Call them. Call them!'"

Rodriguez said she endured one of the scariest times in her life. Her son had gone into a severe seizure and stopped breathing. "He started acting all nervous like he was getting sick, and he does have a history of seizures, and he just stopped breathing and he was turning blue!" Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said she immediately called 911.

"I dialed 911 and I received a recording that said, 'You've reached the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911,'" Rodriguez said.

But, this was an emergency and she did dial 911. In fact, Rodriguez says she dialed 911 not only from her cellphone but also her landline. Both lines are provided by T-Mobile.

"Before I even signed the papers for it I said to them, 'I have a disabled son that has seizures. I've had to call 911 on several occasions,'" Rodriguez said. "And they assured me there would not be an issue, 911 does work with their service."

But Rodriguez claims she just couldn't get through during her emergency so she had to run to get help from a neighbor. "I tried to go in their house, but it was locked so I was pounding on the door," she said.

Fortunately, things turned out OK for her son, but she still wanted to know why her two T-Mobile lines couldn't get through to 911.

So, she called T-Mobile. "For three days I was on the phone with them," Rodriguez said. "I spoke to 10 different people and nobody would help me." "He could have died!" Rodriguez said. "I mean, they had to give him oxygen."

In a written statement, T-Mobile said, "We regret the difficulties experienced by the Rodriguez family. T-Mobile is communicating directly with her and with public safety representatives to determine what occurred and what steps can be taken by all parties to address this issue in the future." (info from Arizona Family)