New Jersey: In a bizarre incident, a bungling burglar in the US has been arrested after he let police know his burglary plans before committing the crimes by inadvertently dialing emergency number 9-1-1.
In what is colloquially known as a “butt-dial”, 42-year-old Scott Robert Esser framed himself for his own crime by alerting authorities in New Jersey to his proposed robbery.
He was talking with a co-conspirator about his plans and has since been caught and indicted by the Somerset County Superior Court.
Unbeknown to Esser, police were listening in as Esser and an alleged accomplice discussed their plans for breaking into homes, emptying drawers, stealing watches and smashing a back door, according to an affidavit filed by Branchburg detective Edward Edgar.
The Somerset County Communications Center on July 27 received what appeared to officials there to be an errant, open-line emergency cell phone call, authorities said. Such a call is “commonly referred to as a ‘butt dial’,” authorities were quoted as saying by NJ.com.
County dispatchers continued listening in on the call and discovered that two male voices were discussing an apparent burglary from an unknown location, authorities said. Later that same evening, Branchburg police received a call of a burglary at a Lamington Road residence.
The home was entered by force and dresser drawers were emptied of their contents. The homeowner reported US $1,355 in miscellaneous jewelry had been stolen, authorities said.
Meanwhile, police confirmed that the cell phone from which the errant call was made into the county’s communication center, which handles 9-1-1 calls, had recently been assigned to Esser. Esser was later arrested in connection with burglaries.
He has been indicted on one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, three counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of third-degree theft and one count of third-degree criminal mischief in connection with the burglaries committed in Branchburg Township, Berkeley Heights, and Stafford Township.
He is being held in the Somerset County Jail in lieu of US $100,000 cash-only bail.