Thursday, February 14, 2013

NYPD probes mysterious 911 calls from phone line belonging to Katie Couric's late husband

NYPD probes mysterious 911 calls from phone line belonging to Katie Couric's late husband

After showing up late to a taping of her TV show, Couric revealed to her audience that a phone line that is still listed in her husband's name, had been making 911 calls. Police confirmed the incidents have happened 10 times and that single patrol cars had come to her home. Couric also contacted NYPD chief Ray Kelly to inquire about the matter.


A phone number belonging to Katie Couric's late husband has dialed 911 at least 10 times, according to the TV host. The NYPD suspects she may be a victim of 'spoofing,' in which a device hijacks a line's phone calls.

Katie Couric is being rattled by a bizarre series of early morning 911 calls made from a home phone registered to her dead husband, police sources said.
Every Tuesday at 2 a.m., Jay Monahan’s phone dials 911. And each time, a patrol officer near her Park Ave. home has been forced to respond. The calls, at least 10 since last month, are under investigation, the police sources said.
Couric told her studio audience Tuesday about the mysterious phone calls during a break while filming her daytime talk show, “Katie.” She said she was so worried that she called Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
“So I called Ray Kelly, who I know just through the years seeing at different things. ‘Ray, this is so weird but can you help me? I don’t know what to do,’” Couric said, according to a member of the audience.
The taping started late and Couric seemed tired, a second audience member, Patricia Edwards, told the Daily News.
“When Katie came out, she apologized and said, ‘I’m very sorry there was a delay.’”
Couric told the audience she had been awakened by a disturbing call. The phone would apparently call 911, sending police to her apartment. She would get an automatic call back to her apartment with an emergency operator on the line.
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ROBIN PLATZER/TIME & LIFE PICTURES/GETTY IMAGE

Katie Couric stands arm-in-arm with late husband, attorney Jay Monahan, who died of colon cancer in 1998.

She referred to it as a “SWAT” call, like prank calls that recently sent Los Angeles SWAT teams rushing to the homes of Ashton Kutcher, Tom Cruise and Charlie Sheen. In Couric’s case, cops have simply sent a single patrol car to the scene after each call.

The police had already left Tuesday morning by the time Couric was able to put on a bathrobe and ask her doorman to see what was happening, a witness said.
Most of the calls have come in when Couric has been out of town.
“It’s happened like three times the last three weeks,” Couric told the audience.
“Every day, every time at 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning. I was out of town the last time it happened and apparently it happened before when nobody was home,” she said.
Police are investigating whether someone is using a device to hijack Couric’s phone and call 911, an illegal trick authorities refer to as “spoofing.”
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AARON SHOWALTER/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Couric lives in this doorman building on Manhattan's upper East Side. Single patrol cars have been summoned to her house by fraudulent phone calls coming from a home line.

“Katie said it was especially disturbing because it came in on her late husband Jay Monahan’s landline, which she has kept all this time,” Edwards, a retired New York City school teacher, said.
Couric explained to the audience that after the bizarre call, she wasn’t able to fall back to sleep for several hours. She tossed and turned until around 4:30 a.m.
“This is TMI (too much information),” Couric said.

“I don’t know why. I got no sleep, so I am just oversharing,” she continued, getting a big laugh out of the audience.
A friend of Couric’s told The News it wasn’t unusual that the phone was still in Monahan’s name even though he died in 1998 of colon cancer.
“It’s simply their home phone,” the friend said. “There’s no special reason she never changed it out of his name.”
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Sam Costanza/Sam Costanza

Couric told members of her show's audience that she reached out to the NYPD, going directly to Ray Kelly, to have the matter investigated.

Edwards said Couric first notified staff in her building.
“Katie said she spoke with the staff in her building, and together they decided she should call the local precinct,” Edwards said.
“But Katie also decided to call Ray Kelly in the morning. She said, ‘That is one of the perks of being well-known, that you can get through to Ray Kelly.’ And she said Ray Kelly told her that you have to respond to these things, and that the NYPD would investigate it,” Edwards recalled.
Couric had a brief conversation with the commissioner, who directed her to one of his colleagues to investigate the situation, a source close to the star said.
“The matter is under investigation. We’re trying to determine if it’s a malfunction or not,” a police source said, confirming that Couric and Kelly spoke.

“Is there a problem with the line or is it someone manipulating the line in some fashion, spoofing, or something of that nature?” the police source said, detailing the scope of the investigation.
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Handout/PRN

Celebrities in Los Angeles have also been victims of spoofing, in which a third party hijacks calls to a certain phone number. In those incidents, SWAT teams were rushed to the homes of Ashton Kutcher, Tom Cruise and Charlie Sheen.

Couric’s friend said the TV host feared that all the phony calls might prevent cops from responding to her home in the event of a real emergency and wanted to make sure police understood exactly what was going on.
A representative for Couric declined comment.
If Couric turns out to be a victim of spoofing, she joins a group of A-list celebrities who have found themselves on the wrong end of practical jokes.
Besides Kutcher, Cruise and Sheen, victims include Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber. Those pranks have been limited to Los Angeles.
Last month, after heavily armed police responded to calls of shots fired at the mansion of Bruce and Kris Jenner, Kardashian blasted the scheme as “dangerous” on Twitter and added:
“These prank calls are NOT funny!”
Authorities are looking into making this sort of hoax a felony.