HAGERSTOWN - Deactivated cell phones have enabled at least four Hagerstown youths to flood 911 lines with prank fire and police reports in recent months, prompting fire marshals to issue a plea to parents to box the idea of using the devices as toys.
The Hagerstown Fire Marshal's Office, through the Department of Juvenile Services, charged an 8-year-old Hagerstown girl earlier this month with four counts of false alarm/fire and one count each of telephone misuse: single, telephone misuse: repeated and reckless endangerment after they traced 16 prank 911 calls between two days - including four dispatched fires - to a deactivated cell phone at the girl's residence, Hagerstown Assistant Fire Marshal Richard L. Miller said.
He alleged the girl's mother identified the voice on the 911 tapes as her daughter's voice.
"She was devastated," he said.
An adult charged and convicted of the same offenses would face a maximum total of $26,000 in fines and/or 31 years in prison if ordered to serve consecutive sentences. The maximum penalty for any juvenile charge is placement outside the home until age 21.