He sent the cops here and there. Now, they’ve come for him.
A Queens man accused of calling 911 falsely reporting emergencies has been convicted following a jury trial, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced Thursday.
Ronald DeShields, 41, was accused of falsely reporting incidents to 911 more than 52 times between Jan. 30 and Feb. 10, 2014. According to trial testimony, DeShields made 52 different calls, all with the same information: an emergency at 89th Avenue and 161st Street in Jamaica. Yet the emergency kept changing from police-involved shootings to apartment fires with residents trapped inside. Each time emergency personnel were dispatched, and each time they turned up to a serene scene.
“Emergency responders rushed to the location where the defendant reported the emergencies, each and every time resulting in both a waste of time and resources,” Brown said. “The false calls also put lives at risk by preventing firefighters and other rescuers from responding to real emergencies.”
After an investigation, DeShields was located and arrested. At the time of his arrest, DeShields was in possession of the phone used to make the false calls.
DeShields is no stranger to the law, or even to false reports. He has made a career out of impersonating cops and firefighters for the last 20 years. Savvy in the department’s uniform and lingo, he does a near-flawless impersonation that has fooled a number of longtime cops.
In 1994, he cuffed a man on the subway after an altercation, claiming to be a correction officer. Again in 1997, he impersonated a police officer and filed false child abuse complaints against his child’s mother.
In a high-profile 2011 case, DeShields impersonated a retired FDNY marshall, stole two handguns from the 103rd Precinct station house, and tried to sell one back to the city through their “Cash for Guns” buyback program. DeShields was arrested for the theft of the guns and held at Rikers Island for felony theft for 20 months.
Yet miraculously, he was not convicted in this case, as prosecutors could not produce enough evidence to prove he had stolen the gun from a police officer’s locker. He also proved his savvy once again: those who turn in guns through the NYPD’s “Cash for Guns” program cannot be prosecuted.
DeShields had been sure in facing these most recent counts that he would get off easily, just as he had in a number of other cases through the years. But his luck finally ran out.
Now, after two years, DeShields has been convicted of seven counts of second-degree falsely reporting an incident, nine counts of third-degree falsely reporting an incident, and one count of second-degree reckless endangerment. Sentencing will take place on May 3, at which time DeShields faces 20 years in prison.
This is the second crank caller in Queens in recent months, after the Briarwood crank caller was apprehended in March.