WHITE — A man who made phony calls about emergencies at a local school and several local businesses is now facing a 32-count indictment for his actions.

The charges against 18-year-old Joseph Otto stem from various incidents across Warren County where emergency calls warned of people with weapons at Phillipsburg High School, the Super Walmart in Pohatcong, and the QuickChek in Washington Township.

According to a report on NJ.com, Otto told police that he would make the calls from his car out of boredom. Police said Otto was identified after a cell provider traced the calls to him, NJ.com reported.

The incidents started on Dec. 7 when Otto allegedly called 911 to warn of a person with a deadly weapon at the Super Walmart. According to the indictment at that time, he said there was a man with a gun inside the store. As a result, he was charged with second-, third-, and fourth-degree creating false public alarms. He was also charged with fourth-degree false reports to law enforcement authorities.

On that same day Otto is alleged to have made similar false reports about the Quick Chek in Washington Township, leading to similar charges as the Super Walmart. Otto also made a similar call about the convenience store. He was charged with the same four counts for that incident as well.

Also on Dec. 8, the indictment alleges that Otto made a false call to 911 about an armed man at Skoogy's Deli in Belivdere. He was charged with the same four counts for that incident.

The next charges in the indictment stem from a false call to 911 on Dec. 10 when Otto is alleged to have reported a gun at Phillipsburg High School. In that instance the indictment says officers from numerous jurisdictions responded to the scene to ensure it was safe for people in the building.

Otto is alleged to have made two more fake reports to 911 on Dec. 12, once again about the Super Walmart in Pohatcong. He is also alleged to have made a similar call about the store two days later.  As with the other incidents, the store was evacuated while a safety search was performed.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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