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Local Coast Guard trying to identify suspected hoax caller

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Posted at 11:45 AM, Oct 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-28 11:45:30-04

The Coast Guard is asking for the public’s help identifying a suspected hoax caller who is suspected to have made seven false distress calls during the past two years in the vicinity of New Bern.

During the months of September through December of 2012-2013 and September through October of 2014, a similar male voice broadcast similar distress calls to Sector North Carolina personnel from the area surrounding the junction of the Neuse and Trent Rivers near New Bern on seven different occasions, with the most recent call on Oct. 16.

Here is audio provided by the Coast Guard of two of the calls.

September 2013:

December 2012:

The Coast Guard issued urgent marine information broadcasts and launched response boat crews, helicopter crews or both in each instance. The combined response efforts to the calls is estimated to have cost the Coast Guard more than $150,000. That cost does not include the expense of local fire department crews or Marine Corps rescue helicopter crews who also responded as a result of the calls.

Making a false distress call to the Coast Guard is a federal felony offense with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, an $8,000 civil penalty and mandatory reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search.

The Coast Guard is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the individual responsible for making a false distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Anyone with information that can identify the hoax caller is requested to call 910-343-3880.