His latest victim, 73 year-old Joseph Jones, was staying at a Motel 6 in Spartanburg County when the phone rang. The caller introduced himself as the manager and told Mr Jones that the previous occupant of the room had installed a number of highly sophisticated cameras.
“Could you help me remove them?” he asked. “I can give you the instructions over the phone.”
This is the point where a more streetwise motel guest might ask a few questions of their own. Joseph Jones did not. When asked to dismantle the toilet and use the cover to smash the TV set, he complied, reporting back that although the toilet cover smashed on impact, the TV did not.
“Quick! Throw the TV out the window.”
Mr. Jones hefted the robustly constructed television set to the window and swung it outside. Then he was asked for his cell number so the manager could call him direct and Mr. Jones wouldn’t have to keep running back to the hotel phone. The Motel 6 hoaxer is thoughtful that way.
The next camera was behind a mirror and, again, the best way to remove it was to smash the glass. Mr. Jones found a wrench (apparently Motel 6 rooms have handy wrenches for just such occasions) and set about the mirror with considerable force.
Next came the midget. The shocked manager had just been told by the police that a midget was barricaded in the room next door to Mr. Jones.
“He’s only four foot three and can’t get out! The police are on their way but … they want you to break the wall down and see if you can free him.”
Joseph Jones was no quitter. He attacked the partition wall with his trusty wrench. “Don’t worry, midget. I’m coming to get you!” he yelled.
For the occupants of the room next door – neither of whom were particularly tall – this was the last straw. They’d put up with the crashes, the smashes and the wild hammering. But now the wall was bulging and cracking, and a madman with height issues was threatening to come and get them!
They called the police and fled the room. Mr. Jones was arrested shortly afterwards.
At first, the police did not warm to his story of ‘I was only obeying the manager’s orders.’ Then Mr. Jones received another call. The ‘hotel manager’ asked if all the cameras had been destroyed. Mr. Jones said they had and, for the first time that night, chose the sensible option, handing the phone to the police.
The startled deputy listened to the caller, who told him he’d been shot at by a mysterious gunman, possibly a small person, and was now on his way back to the motel.
“Is the barricaded midget safe?” the caller asked.
Of course, in a perfect world the officer would have been taken in too, and a nationwide search for the mislaid midget would have begun.
But Spartanburg County law enforcement officers are made of less gullible stuff. They tried to keep the hoaxer talking, but when they refused to take a wrench to the Spartanburg police station walls, the hoaxer hung up.
Attempts to locate the hoaxer failed too. The number he called from was untraceable.
He’d also been very busy. Deputies discovered that several guests at the motel that night had received the same hoax call – which explained why the motel car park had been full of discarded TVs.
Victor Glover Sr., Motel 6’s parent company vice president of safety and security, said: “This is an unfortunate situation that has been occurring in various forms for years throughout the hotel industry and around the country.”
The midget was unavailable for comment.
Chris Dolley is an English author living in France with a frightening number of animals. His novel – Resonance (Baen) – can be downloaded for free here. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf .
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