Janesville44.6°

Man arrested for false 911 calls

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Catherine W. Idzerda
December 26, 2009
— Between Sept. 1 and Dec. 25, William J. Edwards made 43 calls to 911, according to Janesville police reports.

The 39-year-old Janesville man called in a variety of emergencies: He had been beaten up, people were fighting in his neighborhood, something was on fire or somebody was injured, officials said.


In each case, 911 dispatched police officers—and sometimes firefighters—to the scene.


And in each case, no one was there. No one was hurt, nothing was on fire, everything was OK.


At 12:15 p.m. Friday, Edwards of 612 W. Holmes St., Janesville, was arrested at home on charges of making false 911 calls.


Because Edwards was charged with all 43 counts in one arrest, each count is considered a misdemeanor.


“He was calling and reporting emergencies in and around the 300 block of South Linn, South Academy or Racine and Academy,” said Janesville Police Sgt. Chad Pearson. “It was very draining on our time.”


The police would send two or three cars, depending on the urgency of the call, and then nobody would be around.


Police would then be obliged to spend time canvassing the area, just in case.


“It also tied up one of the 911 dispatchers,” Pearson said.


Edwards was making his 911 calls on a wireless, pay-as-you-go phone that is difficult to trace.


Janesville Officers Todd Bailey and Shane Punzel were responsible for putting the pieces together and making the arrest, Pearson said.


The officers reviewed past false 911 calls, some of them dating back to 1996. They also took a close look at the patterns at the calls made in the past three months. A variety of factors led them to Edwards.


“They really did a great job on the investigation,” Pearson said.



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