St. Cloud prank caller poses as cop to criticize drivers

Hold the phone.
Hold the phone.

Is there a diabolical prankster on the loose in St. Cloud?

Earlier this month, we reported on the Craigslist schemer who faciliated the strange theft of a resident's snowblower using a faux advertisement in the "Free" section.

Friday evening, St. Cloud police say they received several complaints of prank phone calls. This wouldn't seem noteworthy, except that the prankster was claiming to be a police officer -- and the calls appeared to be coming from the police department.

Police received reports around 5:00 p.m. that the impostor officer was harassing residents by telling them that they were poor drivers. The prankster also informed his unwitting victims that they had outstanding fines, and needed to pay up.

The phone number that showed up on the victims' phones was the Stearns County non-emergency dispatch line, says St. Cloud Police Sgt. Martin Sayre. He explains that the calls were likely made using a website that can manipulate a caller ID, rather than actually calling from the county line.

"Whoever was making the phone calls was able to make it so they showed up on someone's caller ID as the non-emergency number," says Sayre.

Police say they would never call a resident to collect unpaid fines (presumably, nor would they call to criticize driving habits). Officers are still trying to track down the pranksters.

Until they do, St. Cloud residents, beware.

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