ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. --
Prank phone calls have become a growing problem for emergency officials in Orange County.
In the last two weeks alone, Orange County Fire and Sheriff’s Office dispatchers have received nearly 40 prank calls for fires and other emergencies. Each time, they're called out to the Buchanan Bay Townhomes near Texas and Holden avenues.
Not too long ago, they would have been able to trace the calls back to someone's landline. But today everyone has a cellphone, which can make it impossible for investigators to find the pranksters.
“They're playing a hoax, and it's not funny anymore,” said eyewitness Gary Wright.
Like clockwork, every few days Wright said he hears the sirens. It’s either Orange County deputies or firefighters rushing into the Buchanan Bay Townhomes, for what they think is an emergency.
“The first time it happened we thought, Oh my, there's a fire over here.' But it was nothing. Then it happened again, and again,” said Wright.
According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, 911 dispatchers have received three dozen prank calls in recent weeks. Every time the caller claims there's some sort of an emergency in one of the apartments. The prank calls are now costing taxpayers money.
The problem is the calls are coming from disposable or prepaid cell phone that you can buy at just about any convenience store. So when the caller dials 911 it's impossible to trace the call because you don't need an account or ID, just cash to buy the phone.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office has assigned an investigator to the case.
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