Man makes 27,000 calls to 911

February 15, 2008 12:11:07 PM PST
Hayward police and federal investigators say they've caught the man who made 27,000 prank 911 calls. They say the man would dial the emergency number and then make bodily noises or talk in gibberish.

According to police, 45-year-old John Triplette of Hayward started calling 911 last May, shortly after taking part in a group tour of the dispatch center at the Hayward Police Department. It's a building located two blocks from where Mr. Triplette lives.

For 10 months the calls came in, humorous to some, but not to police or to emergency dispatchers.

"For us, every time a dispatcher had to answer his false 911 call, that was another real 911 call being delayed," says Lt. Chris Orrey with the Hayward Police Department.

At first, dispatchers advised the caller of the law. Hayward police and federal investigators called upon the Federal Communications Commission to help track the prank caller.

"They brought their triangulation equipment. In coordination with our investigators we were able to finally pinpoint an exact address of where the calls were coming from," says Lt. Orrey.

Dispatchers were advised to keep him on the phone as long as they could so he could be tracked. They located the phone of Mr. Triplette in an apartment two blocks from the 911 dispatch center in Hayward.

A bizarre case closed, except for motive.

"One of the things that he told our investigators was that it was free. So he had found a free way to converse with somebody," says Lt. Orrey.

Mr. Triplette faces six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor charge of abusing the 911 system. He's a free man today, but his phone is in custody.