A man pulled over for speeding in Central Florida called 911 to report an impending "murder" in hopes of getting out of his ticket, according to police.
West Melbourne police said Julius Lupowitz was pulled over June 24 near Wingate and Hollywood boulevards.
West Melbourne police Officer Ted Salem made the traffic stop and was about to head to a report of a murder when he learned that the man who contacted 911 call was the driver he had pulled over.
Police said Lupowitz called 911 in hopes that the officer who stopped him would respond to the priority call rather than write him a citation.
Lupowitz received a $209 speeding fine but also faces a third-degree felony charge of misusing the 911 system, which could result in up to five years in prison if he's convicted.
Florida law requires law enforcement officers to personally observe misdemeanor crimes taking place in order to make an immediate arrest, with some exceptions. Police said since Salem was not aware that Lupowitz made the 911 calls nor did he see him on the phone. West Melbourne police filed the charge with the state attorney’s office.
After reviewing the case and determining that the police response cost taxpayers in excess of $100, prosecutors issued a warrant for Lupowitz’s arrest on July 16.
The charge was upgraded to a felony on Wednesday, and Lupowitz was arrested without incident at his home.
“This incident needlessly tied up a critical component of public safety. The 911 system is intended for people who truly need help. In addition, these false calls created an unnecessary delay in our officers’ ability to respond to true emergencies," West Melbourne police Lt. Richard Cordeau said.
Lupowitz was taken to the Brevard County Jail and was being held on $2,000 bond.