California police say that a Santa Ana man got intoxicated on Wednesday night and broke into someone else's apartment without permission. He might well have gotten away with it, at least temporarily, if he hadn't made the worst possible choice under the circumstances: deciding to make multiple prank calls to 911 while he was there.
According to KCAL-TV, Santa Ana police say that a man left his apartment on Wednesday night, climbed onto the roof of his building, and shimmied down into a neighbor's backyard, whereupon he entered the neighbor's apartment without permission. It is not known if he knew the people who lived in this apartment or if he chose it more or less at random.
While he was there, he called 911 and reported the presence of multiple "unknown males" inside his own apartment, and then followed that up with another call to 911 claiming that someone had been shot. The dispatcher responded to these calls by initiating a large emergency response, including from the Orange County Sheriff's Office and Orange County Fire Authority.
When they investigated, they found the caller's apartment empty of people, and began to initiate a search to clear the building, whereupon they found the prank caller in the other apartment and arrested him for suspicion of trespassing and misusing the 911 system. They also determined that he was under the influence of drugs. Santa Ana police did not release the man's name to local media.
Although the unidentified prankster's actions do have a certain humorous element to them, law enforcement officials caution that prank calls to 911 are no laughing matter. Some studies have suggested that as many as half of all calls to 911 are either phantom calls or inappropriate calls, which can lead to delayed response times in the event of a true emergency. Accordingly, in virtually every jurisdiction, intentional prank calls to 911 carry potentially serious criminal penalties.