ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. --
A gun-wielding maniac and the father of an unconscious girl in need of help are just some of the characters a 20-year-old Milwaukee, Wis., man claimed to be in just several of about 180 prank 911 calls to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, deputies said.
But he was none of those things.
Now, Mason Seckar, who lives with his parents 1,100 miles away, is under investigation by the FBI, though he has not yet been arrested or charged.
"I don't know if there is a law enforcement agency out there that hasn't had a prank phone call at some point in time. We all have," said Sgt. Chuck Mulligan, of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.
Still, Mulligan said what happened in St. Johns County earlier this year is an extraordinary case of a prank caller causing chaos. Mulligan said the prank caller cost the Sheriff's Office thousands, maybe tens of thousands of dollars, by simply making things up to dispatchers, such as in the following call:
Dispatcher: "This is the Sheriff's Office. How can I help you?" Caller: "I've been shot." Dispatcher: "Where were you shot?" Caller: "In the stomach." Dispatcher: "Are you bleeding a lot?" Caller: "Uh huh." Dispatcher: "I need to know where you are so I can rescue you." Caller: "I am on (Interstate) 95."
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That's just one example of the prank calls. Mulligan said the calls were meant to send rescuers on wild goose chases. He said the caller was using a voice box to change his voice.
"The first two or three phone calls that came in were almost scripted story lines that were of known areas in St. Johns County," Mulligan said.
One of the most infuriating examples of wasted manpower and man hours involved a fake emergency call from a McDonald's, Mulligan said. According to an FBI affidavit, a man called police and said he was at a McDonald's with his 5-year-old girlfriend, and he needed to be arrested.
But the caller didn't say which McDonald's, so seven deputies raced to eight McDonald's throughout the county, which kept them busy for two hours, Mulligan said.
On Jan. 25, records show, the suspect called the Sheriff's Office 90 times in the span of two hours, from 7:43 p.m. to 9:42 p.m. The caller used the Sheriff's Office's toll free 800 number. The Sheriff's Office was forced to shut down the number for a short time, Mulligan said.
Mulligan said there's no way to know who may have really needed help but couldn't get it.
"We can never take anything for granted," he said. "What happens if in the middle of those 180 calls, someone calls in the middle with a story that is odd that we're not sure about it? You can't discount it. You have to treat them as though they are real."
The Sheriff's Office said it has no idea why the suspect targeted St. Johns County, but according to the FBI, Seckar has made similar calls to Orlando and Minnesota police.
The FBI did not comment Tuesday on the investigation.
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