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)