Crime

FBI gets involved in 911 hoax calls

After a Wednesday morning call from someone who claimed he had a shotgun and had just stabbed his girlfriend in the 801 Bourbon Bar on Duval Street turned out to be a hoax -- the second this month -- Key West Police Chief Donie Lee said Friday that both calls may be related.

"Their voice sounds very similar, their demands in what they said are very similar," Lee said. "I believe that it's the same person."

Eleven Key West police officers responded to the 801 Wednesday at 4:30 a.m. after a caller, who identified himself as Thomas, said he had a shotgun, had just stabbed his girlfriend and was holding two people hostage in the bathroom of the bar.

According to the police report, Thomas said he wanted police to stay away or he would start shooting. He also said he wanted to talk to a hostage negotiator and was intoxicated and "freaking out."

After the officers established a perimeter, they contacted bar Manager Bradley Buckholtz, who said he and two other employees were the only ones inside the business.

Once the employees cleared the bar, officers entered and did not find anyone inside. Lee said the officers were out of there by about 5:15 a.m. 

The first hoax happened July 1 and spilled over into the morning of July 2. A suspect claimed he was inside the Duval House Bed and Breakfast at 815 Duval St. claiming to be armed and have a hostage. He said he stabbed a woman in the chest and abdomen and was holding his niece at shotgun-point. Police engaged in stand-off tactics for more than five hours.

"We are currently working with a task force led by the FBI in another state in trying to identify and charge the person who was responsible," Lee said.

According to Lee, similar hoaxes have popped up across the country recently. "They're related. That's why I think they set up a task force," he said.

In Key West, both calls came from blocked numbers and Lee does not believe the person is local.

As for resources spent on both hoaxes, Lee wasn't sure of the cost, but said that if one started to calculate people's time and salaries, it's "quite costly."

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