• Cops: 911 prank caller victimizing hearing impaired boy's family

    Updated:

    SANFORD, Fla. - Seminole County emergency crews have been called to the same home several times this week after someone called 911, but officials learned the prank caller is using information from a hearing impaired device to make the calls.

    The family that lives at the house authorities are responding to are the victims of a cruel prank, authorities said.

    The family said their son is hearing impaired and someone has taken advantage of that to prank call 911.

    Channel 9 learned there have been more than 20 fake 911 calls asking for assistance at the family's home.

    "I need police to come to my apartment because it makes noise somewhere," the caller told dispatchers in one of the calls.

    "It's obvious that this person knows who they're targeting, probably what type of condition this person has, and they don't care," said Ronny Neal of the Sanford Police Department.

    Investigators said they're working to trace the calls but said it's difficult because they come through a third party as a result of the device.

    The caller was using a web camera service much like Skype, which allows the deaf or hearing impaired to sign or type a message to a sign language interpreter, who then relays the message to someone else, officials said.

    "Four times in the past few days we've had officers or an ambulance show up at our house because of these phony 911 calls," the family said.

    Dispatchers in Seminole County said they quickly figured out the calls were fake.

    "That's at least probably the 20th call we've received from that person tonight," one dispatcher said. "We've already sent units out there several times."

    If the calls continue, authorities said they have to keep responding.

    "It could be potentially an emergency and because of that, we have to look into it," said Neal.

    The family said they haven't had any incidents for a few days and they hope that means whoever is behind the prank has given up.

    Sanford police said they have been able to trace an IP address. They said possible charges could be even more severe because the person behind the harassing communication is going after a person with a disability.


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