Douglas Bagshaw, 70, has been arrested and charged with mischief for calling 911 to "purposely tie up emergency lines" after an Amber Alert was issued in an effort to find five missing children in Ontario, Canada.
Hamilton police say Bagshaw called around 5 p.m. on Tuesday to say he was upset about the alert because he was trying to get some rest. “He did not have an emergency and was calling 911 to purposely tie up emergency lines,” the department stated in a press release.
Bagshaw also told officers he would continue to call and complain about the alert if it continued. On Tuesday, police asked citizens to show compassion and understanding when they receive Amber Alerts. “Please do not call police to complain, instead find compassion and have the understanding to help locate these children! Amber Alerts are issued for a reason,” Alex Li, media relations officer with Toronto police, tweeted.
Police said that non-emergency calls waste valuable resources and delay the response to actual emergencies, adding that Amber Alerts are vital in helping the public and police locate children who are in potential danger.
The missing children, who ranged in age from 5 to 14, were the subject of the Amber Alert but were found safe at a rental cottage in Fort Erie a while later. They were taken by their father, who has not been charged. However, Niagara regional police said an investigation is ongoing. Bagshaw, who was charged with one count of mischief, was released on a promise to appear. He is expected to appear in court in Hamilton today.
Police said the missing children appeared to be in good health when they were found. They are currently being cared for by relatives. The Amber Alert was issued on Tuesday night after the five children were reported missing roughly 24 hours earlier by Family and Children Services Niagara, police said. The children were believed to be with their father. Although the Amber Alert expired later Tuesday night, the children were still missing at the time.
After the alert expired, police received information regarding the father's whereabouts. He was reportedly driving a red Toyota Camry. The investigation led police to an address in Ridgeway, where the car was found parked in the yard of a rental cottage. “The Niagara Regional Police would like to thank the community for their assistance in bringing this to a peaceful and safe resolution,” the department said in a statement.