Former Firefighter Charged With Making Prank 911 Calls

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PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP – State police in Luzerne County charged a man from Nanticoke who they said, was caught on surveillance camera making three 911 calls about bogus emergencies in three months.

Officials at a district magistrate’s office in Nanticoke said misdemeanor charges for creating false alarms and endangering first responders will be mailed to Lee Beatty.

An employee and a resident at Nanticoke Villa said the 50-year-old lives at the personal care home.

The fire chief at Plymouth Township Fire-Rescue Tilbury Station told Newswatch 16 that Beatty was a former volunteer, but he would not say when or why he left the department.

Troopers accuse Beatty of using a payphone outside a convenience store near the fire department to make the bogus calls.

According to investigators, Beatty called 911 and claimed that there was pileup on Route 11 on New Year’s Eve, that he reported that a car had crashed into the Susquehanna River in January and that he told dispatchers that a pickup truck was on fire outside a dinner near West Nanticoke in early February.

Authorities said firefighters didn’t find anything happening when they responded to the three calls and that volunteers were put at risk when they spent hours in boats searching for a submerged car on Jan 11.

Berry Veitz lives near the fire department and told Newswatch 16 that she’s angered that a former volunteer firefighter would make bogus 911 calls.

“It endangers more people. This sick person is probably sitting back there laughing about it and saying ‘Oh, I did that,’” said Veitz. “He`s too coward. He won`t come forward and say exactly that he did it and why he did it.”

Tina Seiwell works at the convenience store and said that her boss gave police surveillance video of Beatty making the prank calls from the payphone outside.

“There`s a camera right there. He knows he’s going to get caught. I don`t get it. The guy obviously needs help,” said Seiwell. “If there really was a crash they wouldn`t be there to help them. Who knows if somebody is going to die? You don`t know. He shouldn`t have done it. He deserves everything that he gets, too.”

Beatty is scheduled to appear before a district magistrate’s office in late March.