COLONIE -- A Rotterdam man driving with a suspended license has been charged with making false reports about fights and other incidents, possibly to avoid getting pulled over, police said on Monday.
Police in Colonie on Sunday arrested Shawn H. Fountain, 38, of 357 Summer St., and charged him with seven counts of falsely reporting an incident, one of which was filed as a felony. Niskayuna police were considering additional charges, as well.
Police had been searching for the man for weeks in connection with repeated calls to 911, in which the caller reported incidents in Colonie that never happened. Niskayuna emergency dispatchers also received reports from the man.
Police made the arrest after authorities in Colonie shared audio of one of the man's calls with the public on the department's Facebook page.
Colonie police said Niskayuna police zeroed in on Fountain as a suspect after they found Fountain's unoccupied car Saturday in Latham. Dispatchers soon received a call for a fight at the Route 9 Wal-Mart. Officers investigated, determined no fight had taken place and returned to find Fountain's car gone, police said.
Police then notified surrounding departments, and officers in Schenectady found Fountain and his car and turned both over to Colonie police. Colonie investigators interviewed him and charged him.
Police said in a prepared statement that they don't have a clear motive, but they noted Fountain has a suspended driver's license and "was traveling in the area of the fake calls, making it appear as if it was done to prevent being stopped and ticketed," police said.
The dates and incidents reported in each of the seven allegedly false calls: March 22, traffic accident near Latham Farms; April 10, traffic accident at the Peter Harris Plaza, Route 7; April 19, fight at the Peter Harris Plaza, Route 7; April 20, neighbor dispute Scully Avenue; April 29, car fire, Peter Harris Plaza, Route 7; May 3, dead deer in road, near the state police barracks, Route 7; May 5, fight at the Route 9 Wal-Mart.
The report of the car fire resulted in the felony charge of falsely reporting an incident. The rest of the calls resulted in misdemeanor charges, police said.
The Niskayuna calls, four in all, spanned April 20 to May 3, police there said. Fountain is being looked at in connection with those, but charges had yet to be filed on Monday. At least one of Niskayuna's cases could also result in a felony charge, police said.
The Capital Region Crime Analysis Center also assisted in the case.