The rules for calling 911 are clear. If it's not an emergency, then don't dial the number.
But a man in Hillsborough County is accused of calling 911 more than 1,200 times, and for absolutely no reason.
You'd think after that many calls, it would have been a no-brainer to track him down. But the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Jason Honaker was using an unregistered cell phone, meaning it had no service plan.
Even those phones can still call 911; it's the law.
But this mobile prankster kept pushing his send button and his luck until it ran out the day before Valentine's Day.
He would often call and say nothing when the dispatcher answered.
Investigators said Honaker made the calls between December 31st of 2012 until February 13, 2013.
"The calls were anything from, someone's chasing me with a knife." said Cristal Bermudez Nunez with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
"We need to put that knife down," said Honaker in one recording. "What knife?," the dispatcher asked.
"Always threatening with that knife. Why you always threatening me with that knife?," said Honaker. "Sir, who are you talking to?," the dispatcher calmly asked again.
"Some calls he would spout vulgarities to the call taker," said Lt. Darrin Barlow with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
"I'm trapped in a trunk, to dead air!," said Bermudez Nunez, describing one of the calls/
He then lets the dispatcher hang on for nearly two minutes with nothing but silence.
"Hello!," she asked again.
She waited another full minute.
"Hello!," she repeated for the last time before he hung up.
Dispatchers have to stay on the line and listen for a potential struggle or other clues that could tell them what the emergency is or where it might be.
"Mr. Honaker's ordeal cost taxpayer's thousands of dollars, the cost of service here, between canine and air service, dispatchers, fuel to respond to these calls and deputies," said Bermudez Nunez.
When there were real calls with people needing real help coming in all the time.
"It took a lot of patience on our dispatcher's part," she said. "We have to treat every one of those calls, like it truly is an emergency."
"The calls started coming in about the beginning of the year," said Lt. Barlow.
And Honaker is accused of placing more than 1,200 in a month in a half.
"I think there are 19 calls where we have his recorded voice and with those recordings, and some great undercover detective work, we were finally able to pin down the caller to Jason Honaker on February 13th," said Bermudez Nunez.
Honaker was using an unregistered cell phone, which by law. can still dial 911. He's charged with seven felony counts of false 911 calls.
"He didn't give us a motive to these phone calls, so hopefully, now that he's out of jail, he doesn't continue with that type of behavior, but only time will tell if Mr. Honaker continues to abuse that system," she said.
The phone's GPS ultimately gave him up to deputies. The GPS indicated it was in the area of Tampa East Boulevard and Massaro Boulevard. The deputies also recovered the cellular phone used to make the calls.
Additionally, Honaker confessed to making many of the calls. He was located and arrested at 2602 Tampa East Boulevard. He bonded out of the Hillsborough County Jail just after midnight Thursday morning. His bond was $14,000. Honaker may face more charges, as detectives review all of the prank calls with him. They believe he may be tied to more bogus phone calls.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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