FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Police announced on Thursday that they have arrested a man whom they say was connected to a series of fake 911 calls and threats in the city of Fredericksburg and other areas in Northern Virginia.
According to a statement from the Fredericksburg Police Department, detectives were alerted to a 911 robo caller who was making numerous emergency calls — sometimes back-to-back — reporting gun violence at various locations in the city.
As a part of their investigation into the incidents, detectives interviewed Fredericksburg residents who had been targeted by the robo caller, looked into potential suspects and began to research the disconnected cell phone and the cell towers connected to these calls.
According to police, the investigation revealed that the suspect’s cell phone was used approximately 30 times between April and August to make false reports and that the suspect disguised his voice using a text-to-speech program and then played that recording to 911 over the disconnected cell phone.
On July 11, the suspect allegedly called about a bomb threat in multiple jurisdictions, saying that bombs were placed in several courthouses in Virginia, including in the City of Fredericksburg Court Complex at 701 Princess Anne Street. According to police, detectives collected data from surrounding cellular communications towers as part of their investigation.
In the meantime, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office opened its own investigation after receiving threats to school properties within their jurisdiction. The Fredericksburg Police Department and the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office subsequently started working together to share information and develop a suspect profile.
On Sept. 13, after a detailed investigation involving multiple jurisdictions across Northern Virginia, detectives from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office and Fredericksburg City Police detained 35-year-old James Hash II, of Fredericksburg, for allegedly making false reports to law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
Detectives executed a search warrant on Hash’s residence in Fredericksburg, where the devices connected to the false reports were located, confirmed by serial number and seized as evidence. According to a statement from Fredericksburg Police, Hash was charged for his crimes in Stafford County and taken to the Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond.
On Sept. 14, Hash was formally charged in Fredericksburg with threats on school property, threats to bomb or burn a building and five counts of falsely summoning police.