Cell phone’s ring leads to charges of fake 9-1-1 call9-1-1 in the News, Calls | Caitlin | June 22, 2011 at 8:39 am
HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ — A 9-1-1 call reporting a fight in progress at the Fountain Hotel ended up with multiple charges against a man who was identified when county communications personnel called back the number that had called them. Police gave the following account:
The original 9-1-1 call came in at about 10:55 p.m. on Monday from a man who identified himself as “Reggie Johnson,” staying in Room 29 at the Fountain Motel. The police dispatcher told responding Patrolman Umair Latif that “Johnson” sounded highly intoxicated, and when Latif got to the motel he didn’t find any signs of a fight or other problem.
Latif went to Room 29 and talked to motel resident Joseph Lizzi, 59, who denied calling 9-1-1 and said he didn’t have access to a cell phone.
That’s when officers asked Hunterdon County Communications to call back the number from which the 9-1-1 call originated. A short time later, a cell phone in Lizzi’s pocket rang and the police dispatcher was on the line. Lizzi was arrested and charged with false public alarm, false reports to law enforcement officers and disorderly conduct. He was taken to the county jail with bail set at $5,000.
Stephen Stepko, 39, currently living at the Fountain Motel, was also in the room at the time and also highly intoxicated. While assisting with the investigation, Patrolman Drew MacQueen learned that Stepko was a fugitive out of Chesterfield, Va., wanted for grand larceny, and that he had a criminal warrant for his arrest out of Long Hill Township stemming from a prior marijuana charge.
MacQueen arrested Stepko and turned him over directly to officers from the Long Hill Township Police Department. Chesterfield authorities, who advised that they would extradite Stepko, were told they could find him in the Morris County Jail.