GREENSBURG (KDKA) — Most of us have gotten a prank call in our lives, but a caller using obituaries to frighten already-grieving victims, has cast a wider net than first thought.

The phone rings. You hear a man’s voice telling you that he has kidnapped someone you love; they are tied up or naked in a nearby room.

“Confusion,” says Det. Sgt. Henry Fontana, of the Greensburg Police Department. “Everybody gets upset because they don’t know.”

Greensburg police are investigating prank calls being made to elderly women and recent widows; the first at the Redstone Highlands Retirement Home.

Det. Sgt. Fontana: “None of the things that the caller’s been telling them have been true – all unfounded.”

KDKA’s Marty Robb Jackson: “And they don’t ask for money?”

Det. Sgt. Fontana: “No.”

Police think that the caller is choosing targets by combing the newspaper death notices. Following reports on the initial two victims, two more have now come forward.

One call came to a home on South Hamilton, and the other to a woman who lives on Mt. Odin Drive.

“The last we had was a relative that the victim really isn’t close to, but they were both mentioned in the obituary,” Det. Sgt. Fontana said.

Investigators are actively tracing the calls through phone carriers.

“Some of them are older – more than a couple of weeks – so it’s going to take some doing with the phone company. We have to get court orders,” Det. Sgt. Fontana added.

If, and when they nab the prankster, the penalties are no joke.

“It’s harassment by communication, and we’ll charge everything we can,” Det. Sgt. Fontana said.

Greensburg Police Trying To Track Down Prank Caller Targeting Widows (1/1/13)
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