COAST GUARD HOAX COSTLY TO PRANKSTER

USCG Release (April 15, 2005) – A federal judge in Detroit Thursday ordered a North Carolina man to pay $10,000 in restitution for making a false distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Bradley Paul Taylor, formerly of Rochester Hill, Mich., was sentenced to two years probation and four months house confinement after pleading guilty in January to making a false district call.

Taylor admitted, through his guilty plea, that on the night of June 1, 2003, he contacted the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 stating his vessel was taking on water in Lake St. Clair. Rescue boats from Coast Guard Stations Belle Isle and St. Clair Shores and a helicopter from the Coast Guard air station at Selfridge responded to the distress call. Taylor was actually on board a vessel docked at a Detroit area marina.

“False distress calls not only cost taxpayers money and place Coast Guard members at increased personal risk, but more importantly, they divert limited resources from mariners who are in actual distress,” stated Capt. Paul Preusse, chief of operations for the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland.