Scanner Hacker Frustrating Peninsula Cops

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Bill Wechter/North County Times
    Oceanside Police Officer Michael Provence climbs into his police car that is now equipped with a license plate scanning system attached to the roof of the car. Shown in the photo is one of the four units that are afixed to the car's roof.

    Authorities along the Peninsula are trying to identify a man who has been using emergency radio channels to berate law enforcement officials and call in false reports at local bars, a Burlingame police captain said  today.

    Burlingame police first heard the man on the evening of June 22, according to Capt. Mike Matteucci.

    He has also been heard on the radios of Belmont and San Mateo  police and by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
         
    "He has been on our radio frequency every couple days," Matteucci said. "Sometimes it's a quick couple sentences, and sometimes it will go on  intermittently over an hour or two."
         
    The man has blurted out profanities about police, reported false bar fights at various bars around town, and made sarcastic comments about  officers in the middle of making traffic stops around town, he said.
         
    San Mateo police Sgt. David Norris said the incidents in that city have occurred on five or six separate days since late June.
         
    Norris said the man has mostly made inflammatory comments or said swear words to police.
         
    Besides annoying police, the man's actions could be endangering officers and the general public, according to Norris.
         
    "It's a safety issue, not just for our officers but for the public if there's emergency info that might need to get out that could be blocked," he said.
         
    The most recent incidents in Burlingame occurred last weekend.
         
    Matteucci said investigators are unsure how the man is accessing the emergency radio frequencies, and they don't know whether he is in a home in the area or driving around in a car.
         
    Investigators with the various law enforcement agencies are  working together to try to find the man. The Federal Communications Commission has also joined the investigation, he said.
         
    If the man is arrested, he faces federal charges of unauthorized  traffic on emergency frequencies, according to Matteucci.
         
    Investigators are asking for the public's help in identifying the  man. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Burlingame  police at (650) 777-4100.
         
    Residents of San Mateo can also call that city's Police Department  at (650) 522-7700, the investigations unit at (650) 522-7650, or the secret  witness tip line at (650) 522-7676.
         
    Those with information can also text an anonymous tip to (650)  262-3473 or e-mail the tip to sanmateo@tipnow.org.