Delaware News

Serial prank caller leaves country; charges unlikely

Juvenile allegedly called county sheriff's office hundreds of times with false reports

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The Delaware County Sheriff's Office has uncovered the identity of a suspect who allegedly made hundreds of false reports to emergency dispatchers in May.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Tracy Whited said county dispatchers had received dozens of false reports of burglaries and break-ins almost daily between May 9 and Tuesday, May 27.

"One day, it's 30 to 50 (calls); another day, it's 90 to 120," she said.

By May 27, Whited said the sheriff's office had identified a suspect in the case, a juvenile who currently lives outside the United States. The suspect is a former Delaware County resident.

Whited said the suspect has admitted to making the calls and agreed to stop.

Whited said because of the suspect's age and location, "it is unlikely charges will be filed at this time." The sheriff's office will, however, consult with the Delaware County Prosecutor's Office on the feasibility of filing charges, she said.

She said there's nothing funny about making "prank calls" to law enforcement agencies.

"It definitely takes time away from the dispatchers to take legitimate calls," she said.

The calls ate into time for deputies, too, who were sent out to possible crime scenes if the dispatchers could not confirm the call was a false report.

"We're going to err on the side of safety," Whited said.

The false reports started when someone called dispatchers in the early-morning hours May 9 to report a burglary and assault occurring on Appleridge Drive in Lewis Center.

When deputies arrived on the scene, they discovered no crime was occurring and no one at the residence had made the call. The sheriff's office traced the number to a resident in Franklin County who denied making the call.

A juvenile living in Franklin County originally was a suspect in the case, but the sheriff's office cleared him after it was discovered the calls were coming from outside the country.

"(The suspect was) taking measures to make tracking the number difficult for us," Whited said.

Between the initial incident and May 27, the caller made dozens of false reports to the sheriff's office almost every morning. The suspect allegedly reported break-ins, burglaries and one kidnapping -- all supposedly occurring at locations in Lewis Center.

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