An Akron, Ohio, man called in a fake emergency to the Ottawa police department on Monday in order to draw officers away from managing the Freedom Convoy protests, but his scheme was foiled by geography: He called a sheriffs department in Ottawa, Ohio, almost 600 miles away from the protest.
Putnam County, Ohio, is home to about 4,300 people while Ottawa has nearly a million residents.
Police in Ohio quickly notified fellow police in the other Ottawa, according to CBC, and are working with American officials to charge the crank caller:
The individual — whose name has not yet been released — only realized he reached police in the wrong Ottawa on Monday after calling a second time to claim he had been shot, according to Ohio’s Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Captain Brad Brubaker.
“As soon as the dispatcher advised him he called Ohio … he said, ‘Wait, wait, I’m not shot,’” Brubaker told CBC News.
“He didn’t pay attention, he picked out our number and called and started reporting the threat,” said Brubaker. “He wanted to call Ottawa police in Canada because he disagrees with the mask mandate.”
The unnamed individual was arrested by Ohio police. Ottawa, Ontario Police Chief Peter Sloly told CBC that the individual was a dumb 20-something, but that dumb 20-something is now at the heart of an international incident. There was also a bomb threat emailed in to Ottawa, Ohio police, according to CTVNews.
Unfortunately, Ottawa police have received a plethora of similar calls. The CBC calls the phony calls “swatting,” but this isn’t swatting in the traditional case of ornery civilians calling the cops on each other. This brand of swatting is specifically to distract police managing the Freedom Convoy siege, which has locked down the city for almost two weeks now. Police have received false reports of active explosions, suspicious packages and shootings designed to tie up police resources and distract officers from managing the crowd. The distractions are making an already dangerous situation worse as police must investigate every call in the name of public safety.
At least the incessant honking has quieted thanks to a 10-day injunction, the Ottawa Citizen reports. Police so far have made only 23 arrests in the 12 days since the protest began. Police say the presence of over 400 children is complicating efforts to control protesters. Meanwhile, the remaining protesters are determined and volatile. Some 412 trucks remain in the “red zone” around Parliamentary Hill. Many have bled their brake lines or removed wheels, rendering trucks immobile.
I’ve got to wonder just how much more the people of Ottawa can take.