In a bizarre case that strained emergency response resources, a 48-year-old Rialto, California, man was apprehended by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) for allegedly inundating the agency with over 7,000 harassing spam calls over a span of nearly four months.
According to the sheriff’s department, Luke Edward Dumas was responsible for a relentless barrage of calls, which began in April and persisted until July 21. Authorities said the unprecedented volume of spam calls created a significant nuisance, to the point of diverting critical resources away from responding to true emergencies.
Investigations revealed that Dumas averaged more than 60 calls per day over 110 days in his targeted campaign against the SBSD.
Police ultimately levied multiple charges against Dumas, which include annoying and harassing calls to emergency lines, public nuisance, interfering with emergency services, resisting and delaying an officer, and reckless driving. He was taken into custody on July 22 and subsequently booked at the West Valley Detention Center.
“The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department emergency phone systems are to be used in cases of emergency only, and abuse of any phone systems will be taken seriously as it prohibits law enforcement from performing their duties,” warned the department in an advisory statement. “Spam calling law enforcement’s emergency phone systems and normal business phone systems could expose the public to prolonged wait times and further risk of danger.”
Authorities suspect that Dumas might be linked to other similar spam call incidents targeting emergency services across the Inland Empire region. They have called on anyone with information related to the investigation to come forward. Detective A. Hylin at the SBSD Headquarters can be reached at (909) 387-3727.