Coast Guard seeks assistance in identifying Kent Island hoax caller

5th Coast Guard District News
BALTIMORE — The Coast Guard is asking for assistance with locating a hoax caller after they received 11 false distress calls between Oct. 19 and Dec. 16 and conducted searches involving multiple air and boat crews from the Coast Guard and local authorities.

All 11 false distress calls were determined to have originated from the area of Kent Island and involved the same male voice transmitting over VHF-FM channel 16.

The Coast Guard’s cost for the searches is estimated to be approximately $45,000.

In addition to cost, there is significant operational impact caused by making false distress calls.

“Making false distress calls limits the Coast Guard and our rescue partners’ capabilities to assist those boaters who are in actual emergency situations,” said Capt. Kevin Kiefer, commander of Coast Guard Sector Baltimore. “Hoax radio calls also place first responders in unnecessary danger as they work to assist the boating public.”

Making a false distress call is a felony punishable by law. The maximum penalty for making a false distress call is six years in prison, a $5,000 civil fine, a $250,000 criminal fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard Investigative Service is offering a reward of $2,000 for information that leads to the positive identification of the person involved with the hoax call.

Anyone with information regarding the calls is asked to contact Coast Guard Investigative Service Baltimore at 410-576-2515.

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