FDNY Firefighter Accused of Reporting Fake Calls to Clear Firehouses

Joseph Keene, 34, is accused of stealing items from his fellow firefighters while they were out chasing bogus calls.


The FDNY firefighter charged with phoning in false alarms so he could steal cash from his fellow smoke eaters when they responded to his phony calls was arraigned today on burglary, larceny and other charges in Staten Island Criminal Court.

Joseph Keene, 34, of Hicksville was headed to Rikers Island after failing to post $7,500 bail.

“Oh come one!” Keene whined as he was led from court to a van for the ride to Rikers.

Between May 24 and June 11, Keene allegedly made four phony calls - on his own cell phone - reporting gas odors, sparking transformers and other fake emergencies.

When firefighters from the closest houses in Queens and Staten Island responded, Keene would sneak into the buildings and rifle locker and other areas to grab cash, snaring anywhere from $40 to $1,200 in each haul for a total of about $2,000.

Keene, who earned $76,488 in 2012, also stole cash from an FDNY facility on Randall’s Island and from a Queens firehouse

Keene was arraigned July 19 in Queens Criminal Court for the offenses he allegedly committed there.

Investigators traced the phone calls back to a cell phone registered to Keene, who was also was captured on surveillance video entering one of the houses shortly before the theft there was discovered.

City Department of Investigation and NYPD investigators confronted Keene July 18, and he admitted to both the phone calls and the thefts, authorities said.

In all, he was charged with multiple counts of felony burglary, larceny and falsely reporting an incident.

Keene “is innocent until proven guilty,” was the only comment from his lawyer, Ricardo Martinez.

 

Republished with permission of The New York Post.