PLEASANTVILLE — A hoax call to police about a hostage situation brought several agencies to Stenton Place and blocked traffic to a two-block area Main Street on Tuesday morning.
A Spanish-speaking male called police at about 8:30 a.m., saying his wife was holding him hostage with a rifle at a home on Stenton Place, Capt. Rocky Melendez said.
Police responded and tried to make contact with the occupants without success, Melendez said. The Atlantic County Emergency Response Team was activated, led by Assistant Commander Chris Doyle.
As police investigated, traffic was diverted from Main onto Reading and Windsor avenues, causing traffic delays.
The investigation, aided by the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Department, found that the alleged caller and his family had not lived at the residence since August, although the phone number the call came from was theirs.
The daughter of the alleged caller was found and told police someone had made a threatening call to her family Tuesday morning. When she showed police the number, it was the Pleasantville Police Department’s non-emergency number, Melendez said.
She said the caller spoke only Spanish, which was consistent with the person who called police, Melendez said.
Melendez said he believes the suspect likely used a mobile phone app that allows people to have it look like a call came from another number.
“I think that's what ended up happening,” he said.
The female and her family came to the scene to be interviewed by police and were seen leaving the area around noon.
They are not considered involved, Melendez said.
The tactical operation ended after four hours.
Police are investigating who made the call. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pleasantville Police Department at 609-641-6100.
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