Prank calls continue to plague grieving Greensburg women
Two more women grieving for departed loved ones reported to Greensburg police that a male called them last month and claimed he was holding relatives hostage.
The calls, which police believe are “disheartening” pranks, were reported to authorities on Wednesday.
Both women contacted police after seeing media accounts of two earlier incidents with similar circumstances, police Chief Walter “Wally” Lyons said on Thursday.
“It appears that someone has a very poor sense of humor,” Lyons said. “These types of harassing phone calls on grieving elderly citizens we take extremely seriously, and we're going to pursue this until it's concluded with a prosecution.”
Authorities have surmised the caller has read newspaper obituaries before placing the calls. The caller knows the names of relatives and is aware the women contacted are mourning a loved one, police said.
In the latest two reports, the women's sisters had died recently, police said.
About 8 a.m. on Dec. 15, a South Hamilton Avenue woman received a call from a male who claimed to be keeping two relatives naked in a nearby room, police said.
On Dec. 20, a Mt. Odin Drive woman received a call from a male who said he had strip-searched a female relative, authorities said. The woman hung up.
Police found that the family members were safe.
The caller didn't demand money during any of the calls, though in most cases the women hung up quickly, police said.
The male offered similar scenarios in the first two calls reported to police.
A woman living in the city's 8th Ward received a call about 8:30 a.m. Sunday. The caller said he had the woman's sister-in-law tied up in a nearby room.
The woman hung up immediately and called police, who discovered the relative was safe.
About 9:40 a.m. on Dec. 15, a man called a woman living in the 2nd Ward and said he had the woman‘s daughter in another room. The man said he had strip-searched the daughter and tied her up, police said.
When the woman asked where the man was calling from, he hung up, authorities said.
The daughter was found to be safe, police said.
Greensburg police have contacted other local police departments to find out whether they are investigating similar calls.
On Thursday, police were investigating a fifth possible call made to an Allegheny County residence.
Anyone receiving such a call should hang up and immediately contact the police department serving their community, Lyons said.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hempfield Area considers renovations at high school
- Members of North Huntingdon family attacked by rabid otter in Va.
- K-9 officer Blek chosen as grand marshal of Fort Ligonier Days parade
- Bridge project forces closing of Route 30
- Heroin, marijuana found in car in Greensburg, driver arrested
- Former guard at Westmoreland jail focus of sex assault probe, DA confirms
- Youngwood to purchase swing, table to satisfy state regulations
- Junction project on 1-70 at Westmoreland exchange to begin
- Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
- Greensburg native runs unique catering service in California
- Heroin suspect out of Westmoreland County jail on $100K bond