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Man arrested in more than 18,000 prank 911 calls

February 25, 2011 |  6:20 pm

An East Los Angeles man who allegedly made more than 18,000 prank 911 cellphone calls over six months was arrested Friday, the California Highway Patrol said.

Maurice Cruz, 43, was booked on suspicion of misusing 911 emergency lines to annoy or harass, a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine, up to six months in jail or both. He was released Friday afternoon on $5,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County sheriff's Inmate Information Center.

The CHP alleges that Cruz made many of the calls on a deactivated cellphone, which does not provide the caller’s location or phone number, in order to make the calls difficult to trace.

CHP and Secret Service investigators, however, tracked him to a home in East Los Angeles and took him into custody.

Authorities did not reveal a motive or give any details on the calls, which they said took place beginning Aug. 27.


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-- Teresa Watanabe