OTTAWA — A lack of geography knowledge can hurt you, as an Akron man discovered last Thursday in Putnam County Common Pleas Court.
During protests in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada’s national capital, an Akron man who said he was upset with mask mandates, thought he was calling in a bomb threat to Canadian authorities. Instead, he reached police in Ottawa, Ohio, approximately 600 miles away from his intended destination.
Miles Black was in the courtroom of Judge Keith Schierloh Thursday in Ottawa for sentencing on two charges of making false alarms, one a felony of the third degree and the other misdemeanor of the first degree. Black had pleaded not guilty April 22 to both counts that he was facing, but he later reversed that decision, pleading guilty on both counts on June 27.
Black received 90 days in the Putnam County jail and five years of community control.
The Akron man apologized to the 911 operator and admitted, “I deserve to be here… I shouldn’t have done it.”
Schierloh and Black both agreed that the defendant’s actions were “ridiculous.”
The judge did not feel that there was any remorse on behalf of the defendant. Recognizing that this was an unusual case for Putnam County, Schierloh researched other somewhat similar cases in Ohio before sentencing Black.
The case began on April 4 when the grand jury indicted Black on charges related to two phone calls Black made to the Ottawa Police Department just after 11 a.m. Feb. 7. According to the sheriff’s office, the calls featured a man claiming that he was about to detonate a bomb in Ottawa near the “Overbrook” community. This is an example of “swatting,” in which a prank call is made to provoke a large number of armed police to go to a particular location.
Black told dispatchers that the reason for the threat was “because of mask mandates from the government and that politicians and police officers would die because of the dumb mandates,” according to the reports from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
During the call, law enforcement contacted the phone companies and traced the number back to a T-Mobile account based in Akron.
A short time later, the same man called the Putnam County emergency dispatch center again. He claimed using a fake name this time that he was shot and needed help near an address in the Canadian capital.
The dispatcher told the caller that he would forward the information onto authorities in Canada because he was calling Ottawa emergency services in Putnam County, Ohio.
Deputies said the man then realized he was calling the wrong Ottawa, admitting that he was calling in a fake report because he was “bored” and “that Canada was pissing him off with their mask mandates.”
The caller said he found the number on Google and was only trying to waste “Canada’s time and resources” before he hung up.
The sheriff’s office was eventually able to get in touch with the Akron man again on the phone. He reiterated to investigators that he meant to call Canada and not Ohio, deeming it “an honest mistake.”
Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409.