Crank call/Possible Psycho -- ADVICE PLEASE!!!!

Here’s the basic facts as I know them.

My sister’s husband was out of town the other weekend and she gets home from a event at the local Zoo for Halloween (Zoo Boo). She was riding with some friends of theirs who dropped her off with my nephew who is 10. They walk in the house and the phone is ringing. My nephew picks up the phone and my sister is doing a few other things. She suddenly realizes he is giving more info out than he should (ie We’re home alone, my Dad is up north for the weekend). She grabs the phone from him and says who is this and it is some freak show who says Ohh so your home alone…. And a bunch of other crap. My sister looks at her caller ID and sees the guys number and that it is a cell phone. She says “ I have your cell # and I’m calling the cops” and hangs up. In the meantime the people who dropped her off are leaving and notice someone in the bushes at the edge of their property and swing around and come back in and get my sister and nephew and take them to their house for the night. The cops say that they can go talk to the guy but this might not be a good idea because it could set him off if he is a psycho. So my sister opts for the police not talking to him. My brother in law is shaken but is working nights next week. My nephew is freaked out and is afraid to go upstairs and is afraid to sleep.

My mother has already called the cell phone number and played dumb, like it was a wrong number and has a name, the fact it is a business phone and that he works at an insurance company.

Now the question becomes what does the general population of Doper’s think should be done. I would stay with my sister but she lives an hour and a half away. My personal feeling is that if they are not going to file a police report my Bro-in-Law should stop in with some friends and “discuss” this with the scumbag in question. It doesn’t sound like this will take place. In which case Sledman is considering placing a phone call to said scumbag and explaining in no uncertain terms my feelings and what will happen if one hair is harmed on either of my nephews’, my niece’s or sister’s head. I would not object to stopping by and making it clear to him also. If it was my wife that was threatened you can be sure a report would have been filed and he would have received a visit. When my family is messed with in this fashion all bets are off.

I realize I am being driven by sheer emotion and would like to see what calmer heads have to say on the subject.

Here’s what I’d do – If that number is for a business cell phone, I’d call the the HR department or management of the company and find out if they’re aware this guy is using the company phone to make prank/potentinally threatening phone calls. The downside is that if he is a crackpot it could set him off just like the police calling him.

I’m with Gazoo. Phone the company. I betcha they’d be real interested to find out what’s happening with their cell phone.

I have no better advice than Gazoo and lolagranola.

  1. Report the cellphone user to his boss.
  2. Report the cellphone user to his cellphone company.
  3. Report the crank call to the phone company - local service. They love to investigate the freaks.
  4. Keep someone around the house for a few days just in case. Get friends or someone to stay with during evenings when hubby is at work.
  5. Call the local police non-emergency number and request extra patrols in your neighborhood. There’s already been a report filed, so the cops will probably be willing to do this.
  6. This would set off a psycho, but I’d probably play with fire and fight back using the same tactics. Give us the guy’s cellphone number and we’ll all call him at all hours of the day and night and harrass the shit out of him… as a last resort, of course! (But then again I don’t claim to be the most rational and mature Doper…)

What? So if he is psycho it is better to ignore him? I would think that I would especially want the police to go and talk to him if he was psycho. You never know what is going to set a psycho person off so there is no point in tiptoeing around him.

I agree with all of Dogzilla’s suggestions.

Chances are he is playing a prank and the police talking to him will discourage him. If he is a psycho then the best thing you could do would be to have a good police record.

If I were your brother-in-law I would change shifts with someone and not work nights next week. The safety and sanity of his wife and child should be more important.

I’m with Zumba. I don’t care how important your brother-in-law’s job is, his family comes first. Change shifts, don’t work nights for at least a few weeks. In addition, I’d put in an alarm system. You don’t screw around in these situations - safety comes first.

I agree with Zumba, and would definitely insist that the cops talk to him. I would definitely not recommend attempting personal intimidation. Notifying the employer is also a good suggestion. In the meanwhile, take extra precautions concerning lighting, and personal exposure. And talk with that kid about phone safety! Make herself an inconvenient victim.

Also, my experience is that the phone company is less than tremendously helpful in responding to crank calls. In our case it was hang up calls. They offered few suggestions, all of which were at our expense.

But you still might want to fetch a couple of two by fours and give this fucknugget a dose of parking lot therapy. Anyone who tries to pull that sort of sh!t needs some dents upside their head.

All I know is if I got a good whamadoodle or two, I’d sure as hell think twice before ever calling or lurking again.

What a pity that jerks do these sort of things.

Cops are lazy in that regard. They didn’t go talk to a drunk here I reported cause it might “set him off, and then bad things would happen.” To which I didn’t reply “No shit, sherlock, that why we pay taxes for your sorry paycheck.”

Police are lazy, sometimes. I would have insisted on that talk, or I’d have a discussion with a louisville slugger.

Thanks for some good suggestions.

It’s a tough one because I can tell them what to do and I am not sure they will do it.

I am quite sure if something happens I will absolutely freak and at that point the cops better do something which includes a conviction…

You know an anonymous crank call is one thing but when you have the perp’s identity in your possession it becomes a whole different situation.

Keep the suggestions coming.

Christ this has me fired up…. (breathe Sledman breathe)

You might want to get them a small tape recorder & hook it to the phone, so if the nut calls back, you can get it on tape.

I used to have a problem with prank calls, until I said to the caller something quasi-official, like “It is my legal duty to inform you that this call is being recorded by the police department.” If he isn’t a nut, this should scare him.

The guy may not be a nut, at least, let’s hope not, and this may be the only time you ever hear from him. It’s good that your family is taking precautions, though.

Have your sister keep a log of any suspcious phone calls, hang-ups, or whatever, noting the time and date of each call. Report each one to the phone company.

See if the phone company offers any services, such as having to enter in a code before the call can be completed. A friend of mine has a service that makes you put in your phone number before the call will go through. Your family and friends could all use the same code number, and then you would know that it’s them calling, and be able to avoid any unwanted calls. Or else, screen all calls through an answering machine. Have a man with a deep voice record the message, or else buy an electronic one that has a pre-recorded computer voice that answers the phone. The message should never say something along the lines of “Hi, this is the Smith residence . . .” Never allow your children to record the message. Never have a message that says
“Hi, this is John, Sue, Mikey and Susie’s house . . .” The message should only say that no one is available, leave a message. No identifying details is best.

Does your sister own her own home? Plant throny, prickly bushes under all windows, and make sure that they are securely locked. Brace a small board in the track of the window so it can’t be opened. Make sure she has a chain lock on each door, or one of those things that brace under the doorknob. Keep all curtains closed, even during the day. Always leave a light on, so that no one can tell when you’re home. She might want to consider leaving the TV on as well.

If she doesn’t have an alarm system, buy her one of those screamers that they sell in travel magazines. They’re made for people staying in hotel rooms. You slip them over the knob, and if anyone tries to get in, it sets off an alarm.

Keep all vehicles locked, and preferrably in a garage. Tell her that when she is walking from her car to the house to put her keys between her fingers so that they stick out. It’s a good weapon for if you’re ever attacked. Pepper spray is no good unless she always carries it in her hand. After all, one can’t say, “Wait a moment, Mr. Criminal, I have to get something from my purse.”

A dog, of course, is the best defense you can have. No matter what the size, a barking dog is great deterrent to criminals.

And for goodness sake, keep that kid away from the phone. He should NEVER give out ANY information to a caller, not even names.

first thing I’d check is to see if the cell phone had been stolen from the company. you seem to be assuming since you got the number and traced it back that the person who called worked for that company.

If they do, then certainly, inform the company that their phone was used in this manner.

Issues, as I see them:

are we certain that the person who made the call also was lurking in the bushes?

are we certain that the person who made the call is also the SAME person who is assigned that phone (could it have been the teenaged son of the person assigned for example?)

The other biggie is we don’t know if the person is nutso or not.

Personal confrontation should be done, but by the POLICE. Not your brother in law (although if you were closer, I have some pretty intimidating clients to loan).

in the meantime, these actions I would take:

1, Change the phone number and make it unpublished.
2. Trim back all bushes around the house, install motion sensative lighting.
3. Alert the neighbors to the situation.
4. As others have mentioned, teach the young one what to do and not do with the phone AND in person.

gads, this sucks for all concerned. Sorry. I’ll try and think of some other alternatives.

just re-read the op and a few more thoughts came up.

It seems possible to me that the “something in the bushes” and the phone call may not be related. think about it.

The call came as they were coming in, if the person had been lurking around, they’d have KNOWN they were home alone, since there was no one else there first.

Have you thought about how they were targeted? Are they listed in the phone book? address and all? if they aren’t, then either the call and the bushes were unrelated OR it’s some one they know personally.

It is also possible that the cell phone “designee” (the person who’s authorized to use it) is related to the person who made the call. THe business it’s listed to? has it been in business long? as in, many years? If it’s a new company, then it may be flake city person running it - to get a business phone listed isn’t all that complicated. But if it’s been in business a long time, that’s another thing.

the just got home from the zoo may be totally unrelated to the call (and probably is, UNLESS the caller knew them or had targeted them some how). If the caller had followed them home from the zoo, how would they have the phone number? If they looked up their name and address before hand, how would they have known they were at the zoo (or whereever).

it’s really running around in my criminal-type mind now…

Let’s just say additional info is being gathered and indications at this point are that we are dealing with a 23 year old male who lives with his parents.

Odds are the cell phone was not stolen based on the call placed by my mother.

It’s a newer home, in a newer subdivision and they are pretty close with their neighbors so neighborly help shouldn’t be a problem. The thorny bushes are a good idea.

I’d feel better if I thought my sister was even remotely competent with a gun. Let’s just say self defense would not be her strong suit.

I on the other hand would be more than willing to hang this punk from a tree by his nuts and bring out the 2 x 4 with a couple nails in the end and play pinata!!

For Pete’s sake tell her to get a shotgun(the shortest one the law allows). And keep it loaded and close by(this depends on how old the boy is of course if he is young keep the shells seperated from the gun otherwise talk to him about gun safety and keep it handy. You don’t have to be a crack shot with a shotgun so they are excellent for home defense.

The reason I say get a gun is because this wacko was already hiding in her bushes and believe me no matter what you do for security(less burgler bars and a steel doors) he can still get in quickly.

He might be prankster and then again he might be a nut. Usually pranksters don’t hang out in bushes around your house IYKWIM. So tell her to be prepared and guns are the best. Cops are just not fast enough for a home invasion. Say they get to her house even in 4 minutes from the 911 call. It could still be too late.

good. like I said, I’m not convinced the caller knows the address. Hope not anyhow.

23? idiot. It did sound like the kind of thing that some one younger would do (although 23 is pretty old for this sort of shit).

See, I think it’s possible that this was a random call, not related to them just getting home etc. it seems too unlikely to me that the caller would have not only their address and phone number (which granted, is probably in the phone book, but then why would they have been targeted?) but knew they weren’t going to be home, there was a kid there etc.

I’ll be checking back on this, will be around for another 3 or 4 hours tonight (not that I think I’m the only one qualified to help out…) but I do feel for them.

Wildest Bill-a gun isn’t always the answer, especially when there are children in the house?

I agree, shotguns and kids is asking for a REAL tragedy. I’d definately allert the neighbors, studies show that if people are ASKED to watch for something, they are WAY more likely to be proactive about it. Do we know WHY this kid targeted the family? Seems like it’s time to go to the cops. You know who he is, they can monitor his movements. He may have a previous history of this behavior, in which case they can grab him.

Keep us informed.

A gun isn’t always the answer, true. It’s not the only answer, either. But it’s still a good answer. I have lived in the ghetto before, and I can assure you that sometimes the RAK-CHK! of a 12-gauge is the only way to convince some loony-toon that when you say “Get the fuck out of my house!” you mean right now. But, I have to say, advising someone to run right out and buy a gun is kind of not a good idea. Especially if they’ve never owned or even fired one. Can you say “Dangerous, false sense of security”?

However, all this “The children! Won’t someone please think of the children!” crap is crap.

The kid is 10, which is plenty old enough to learn a few simple things like “Don’t touch the stove, it could burn you.” and “Don’t touch the gun it will kill you.” and any responsible parent who owns a gun should know enough to keep their child safe from it.
In fact, if you’re going to buy a gun-whether or not you have children-safety should be your number one concern.

If she gets a gun, she should take a gun safety course before bringing it home. I was raised around guns, but many people aren’t anymore. These are the people who do something dumb without knowing better and wind up on the news…

Besides, somebody’s gotta show them how to clean the thing. And load it proplerly. And what not to do with it.

Of course, telling the little twerp’s parents would be an excellent course of action. Worst thing in the world for a 23 year old boy living with mom and dad. “Son, come here for a second…”