DELMAR – A 25-year-old Altamont man was charged with calling Bethlehem police and falsely reporting a local family was being held at gunpoint in their home.
The call came to Bethlehem dispatch on Sunday, January 30 at 2:12 p.m. and officers responded to the Delmar residence. They quickly discovered that the claim was unfounded.
According to police, other police agencies were called to assist due to the nature of the report.
On Tuesday, Sept. 6, police arrested Ryan Albright at the Bethlehem Police station and charged him with falsely reporting an impending incident and criminal impersonation, both misdemeanors.
In March, Albright and Dylan Lafave, of Greenville were both charged in a similar incident of reporting an emergency at a Delmar residence.
On Sunday, March 20, the Bethlehem Police Department Telecommunications Center received a call to its non-emergency number by a male caller reporting a fully involved and active fire at his residence. The caller then abruptly hung up.
The center dispatched fire departments and police to the residence. Upon arrival, Officer Michael Whiteley and Slingerlands Fire Department Assistant Chief Jason Tice found no signs of a fire or anyone at the residence. The two contacted a neighbor and secured the cell phone number of the homeowner and contacted him. He said he was out to dinner with his family and only the family dog was in the home.
With permission from the homeowner, Tice entered and searched the home for signs of fire, then canceled the other responding departments.
Bethlehem detectives identified the general location of the original call in the City of Albany by using technology that identifies an IP address of the source call. They used an emergency disclosure request to determine the address of where the call originated.
“It is a long investigative process that requires many warrants to determine exactly where the call came from,” Bethlehem police Deputy Chief James Rexford said in March.
Detectives contacted the resident at the Albany location and identified two persons of interest.
Officers interviewed one of those suspects, Dylan Lafave, of Greenville, at his residence on March 23. According to reports, Lafave denied making the phone call, but stated he was with Ryan Albright, 24, of Altamont, and another person at the Albany address when the call was made.
After investigating further, Police filed an arrest warrant for Lefave and Albright.
Lafave was charged with falsely reporting a fire, explosion or hazard, a felony, and criminal impersonation by the internet, a misdemeanor.
Albright was charged with conspiracy, a misdemeanor. It is unknown the adjudication on those charges at this time.
There have been other similar incidents of what is known as “SWATTing” in Bethlehem this year. The term is used to describe when someone calls to report a fraudulent incident that prompts an emergency response to a location to cause distress to those at that location.
A third incident that involved a call to a Selkirk residence in March is still under investigation. Police said that there have not been any incidents since March.
Albright was arraigned in Bethlehem Town Court for the most recent charges and is scheduled to return on Monday, Oct. 10.