Some news from Tennessee. I'm surprised law enforcement doesn't use such ruses more often to smoke out criminals. Would some judge consider it entrapment?
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Knoxville Fire Department investigators used a ruse of their own to nab a man suspected of making a series of bogus emergency calls on his cell phone.
After receiving a false report of a gas leak on Dec. 14, firefighters compared notes.
They confirmed 15 fake 911 calls over a two-month period, including four house fires, six car crashes and various other medical emergencies. All came from the same cell phone.
So they called the number and left a message saying the phone's owner had won a gift card from a major retailer, Fire Capt. Brent Seymour said.
Within an hour, Seymour received a call back from a man identifying himself as the phone's owner. "He willingly gave his name and address," Seymour said. "I told him I would be sending that gift card."
But that wasn't quick enough to suit the man. He wanted the gift card in time for Christmas. So the investigators set up a meeting for that evening.
Seymour said he waited only a few minutes in a business parking lot before suspect Jason Mark Harms arrived on foot, identified himself as the gift card recipient and was arrested.
Seymour said Harms' first words were, "You can't prove it."
But General Sessions Judge Charles Cerny found the evidence strong enough Wednesday to send 15 felony counts of making false reports against Harms to a Knox County grand jury.
Harms, 29, told authorities he thought he was doing taxpayers a favor by drawing otherwise lazy firefighters out of their cozy fire halls, according to court papers.