Newport News, Va. - A man has been arrested after making numerous
false calls to the 911 dispatch center.
53-year-old James E. Aursby was arrested Tuesday afternoon for making fake calls about structure fires, medical emergencies and other crimes in multiple locations across Newport News.
Fire officials say that includes the area around Mercury Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue, along with an area off of Marshall Avenue.
Police started receiving the calls around the beginning of 2015.
When emergency crews arrived at the addresses Aursby gave them, there were no emergency situations to be found.
"This could have potentially tied up those emergency responders and resources from being able to quickly respond to other actual emergencies," the Newport News Fire Department said in a news release.
Battalion Chief Adrian Hanline says there is also a big cost not only financially, but for their safety and the safety of the community.
"Anytime we go on a call, there’s a cost to it for getting our apparatus out the door. The fuel costs, the personnel costs that are associated with it," he says. "There’s also a cost to our safety and the public’s safety when we travel with red lights and sirens. Thirdly, there's costs to our operational readiness. When we devote resources to an event, then any subsequent calls that come into that area, there’s a delay in that response."
Aursby is charged with 24 counts of calling or summoning ambulances or fire apparatus without just cause and seven counts of falsely summoning law enforcement officials.
He is being held in Newport News City Jail.
Aursby's motive and the exact locations of where he sent first responders are still part of the on-going investigation.