New York City man accused of more than 100 prank 911 calls

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 06, 2011 6:13 PM
New York City man accused of more than 100 prank 911 calls

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City man was accused of making more than 100 prank emergency calls over a year and a half that prompted police and firefighters to repeatedly respond to his neighbors' apartment, authorities said on Tuesday.

Jesus Leon Jr., 30, told a fire marshal he was angry with his upstairs neighbors over a water leak, according to papers filed by the Manhattan District Attorney's office in state Supreme Court.

He said he was also angry with the police and fire departments for failing to respond to his requests for help dealing with the leak, the complaint said.

Leon was accused of calling 911 to report nonexistent shootings, commotions, screams, explosions, fires and other emergencies in the apartment upstairs, the complaint said. The calls began in April 2010.

He faces several felony and misdemeanor charges, including falsely reporting an incident, reckless endangerment and harassment. The most serious charges carry the possibility of four years in prison.

A grand jury is slated to hear the case on Thursday and decide whether he should be indicted.

At the time of Leon's arrest on Friday, the neighbors said police and firefighters had "come to the door over 100 times at all hours of the day and night, harassing, annoying and causing great alarm," the complaint said.

Laurence Spollen, an attorney for Leon, said it was too early in the case for him to comment.

Robert Byrnes, the chief fire marshal, said in a statement that Leon had "wasted tremendous amounts of city resources, and endangered the lives of first responders and the public."

An assistant district attorney told the court at Leon's arraignment on Saturday that the false 911 calls were made from a type of cellphone given to victims of crime that can be used only to call 911 and can be difficult to trace, a spokeswoman in the district attorney's office said.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston)