Lufkin Police looking for "false alarm" caller
POSTED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 7:54am
UPDATED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 7:56am
Lufkin, TX (KETK) — Law enforcement spent more than an hour securing a house after what police believe was a false alarm.
Lufkin Police tell KETK, they received a call just before 4:30 on Thursday afternoon from a deactivated cell phone.
"You can stil make emergency calls from a disabled phone," said J.B. Smith with the Lufkin Police Department. "However, we can not call the person back, since there is no number associated with the phone."
The caller told authorities that there was someone in the house with a knife and hostages.
Once police arrived on scene and began to approach the house on the 400 block of Greenbriar Dr, authorities received another call from the person.
The caller, who police believe to be male, said that he saw the officers on scene and told them to back off or he would start shooting.
Police retreated from the home and called out their Special Response Team (or SRT).
The homeowner, who was not in the house, had been contacted for a key. Officers were able to open a door and deploy a motorized robot with cameras into the house.
SRT officers then deployed two "flashbangs" in the backyard. They emitted light and sound, allowing officers an opportunity to enter the house.
After searching the home, they did not find anyone inside. They also searched the area and contacted other residents in nearby homes.
"We are still working to determine who made the call, which at this point appears to be a false alarm," Smith told KETK.
If found, the person would face charges for the false report to solicite a police or fire response, which is a Class A Misdemeanor. The caller would face fines up to $4,000 and up to a year in jail. There could also be other charges.
Authorities were on scene until about 6:00pm, but not much additional manpower was called in to assist. Most of the officers who were dispatched were already on duty at the time.
"It's frustrating that so much police time was spent following a false alarm," Smith said. "But even if we had believed it to be a false alarm from the beginning, we still would have spent the time and manpower to investigate. We have to act as though it is real. You can't let someone get hurt because you believe the caller is lying."