Incident Date: January 9, 2020
Incident Time: 12:51 PM
Incident Location: Gray, Maine
Release Date: January 11, 2020
Release Time: 7:00 PM
Incident Synopsis: False 911 Report
Joseph G. DUBAY, Jr, 64 years old from Gray, ME was charged with 4 counts of False Public Report (class D Misdemeanor) after an investigation into the report of a snowmobile that had fallen through the ice.
On the above date and time, the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center received a 911 call from an unknown male who reported that a snowmobile had just crashed through the ice on Crystal Lake in Gray. No other information was provided and the caller quickly disconnected. The call was made using what is known as a “911-only” cellular phone. 911-only phones are not tied to an active wireless account and have no associated phone number, which makes the caller’s identity and location difficult to establish. Typically, any deactivated cell-phone can be used as a 911-only phone, which allows 911 to be called in an emergency, however, no other numbers can be called and no in-coming calls may be received.
Deputies from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Gray and Raymond Fire Departments, and the Maine Warden Service responded to Crystal Lake to investigate. After a thorough search of the area, no evidence was found to support the caller’s claim.
During the investigation, Deputies canvassed the area and located DUBAY in his vehicle at the Crystal Lake beach parking lot. After a period of questioning, Deputies determined that the claim of a snowmobile crashing through the ice was completely fabricated. Dubay was charged with Filing a False Public report. It appears that after making this false report, Dubay remained in the area to await and watch the emergency response.
Also during this investigation, Deputies determined this incident had similarities to at least three (3) other 911 incidents that were determined to be a hoax. These calls occurred in the Towns of Raymond and Gray and ranged as far back as May of 2019. These false reports alleged structure fires and other police and medical emergencies. The nature of the previous false 911 reports also elicited heavy response from Fire/EMS and Law Enforcement. False reports like these create unnecessary risk to both first responders and the public. Public Safety agencies and all our communities agree that false reports are no joke and come with serious consequences.
It is a class D misdemeanor crime for a person to knowingly give or cause to be given false information concerning an emergency to any government agency or public utility that deals with emergencies involving danger to life or property, with the intent of inducing such service, agency or utility to respond to the reported emergency, knowing such information to be false. Class D crimes are punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or $1,000.00 fine.
It should be noted that these calls are similar in nature to what has been termed as “Swatting calls.” "Swatting" calls are typically made from an anonymous source such as a 911-only phone or a phone with a fraudulent (“spoofed”) caller ID. The caller alleges a crime of such a violent nature, police respond by quickly activating a SWAT team to the scene. These "Swatting" calls have occurred throughout the country, including Maine, and sometimes result in tragic endings.
The CCSO continues to investigate whether DUBAY is responsible for other false reports. DUBAY is scheduled to appear in Portland District Court on March 11, 2020 to answer the charges.
For More Information:
Captain Scott Stewart
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office