A 36-year-old New York City man has been arrested on a false public alarm charge for allegedly repeatedly calling police departments and a community crisis hotline in New Jersey and claiming he was sexually assaulting a child or was about to while on the phone, officials in Bergen County said Monday.
John LaForgia, a security guard from Staten Island, allegedly made more than 130 similar phone calls to law enforcement agencies and crisis hotlines in various jurisdictions, including New Jersey and New York, since Feb. 1, prosecutors said.
The charge stems from a Feb. 15 case in which the cyber crimes unit within the Bergen County prosecutor's office was notified by multiple police departments and the hotline that a stranger was using technology to anonymize his caller ID. He would call those outlets repeatedly, claiming to be attacking a child, officials said. First responders notified the Cyber Crimes Unit, which determined the calls were fake and there was no active sexual assault in progress, officials said.
An ensuing investigation revealed LaForgia to allegedly be the person who made the calls, as well as dozens of similar calls in multiple states, in February. He surrendered to prosecutors in Bergen County Friday on a single count of false public alarm and was released pending his initial court appearance.
It wasn't immediately clear if authorities planned to pursue additional charges against LaForgia, given the alleged volume of fake calls, nor was it known if the defendant had an attorney who could comment on the allegations against him.