Authorities in Cumberland County believe they have apprehended the man responsible for making at least four hoax 911 calls dating back to May 2019.

Joseph G. Dubay Jr., 64, of Gray has been charged with four counts of making a false public report, a Class D misdemeanor, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release posted on its Facebook page.

Police arrested Dubay last Thursday afternoon after they were called to Crystal Lake in Gray to investigate a report made by a 911 caller who said that a snowmobile had crashed through the ice. The call came from a cellphone not linked to an active wireless account and which is therefore difficult to trace. The caller did not identify himself and quickly disconnected.

County deputies, members of the Gray and Raymond fire departments, and the Maine Warden Service investigated but could find no evidence of a snowmobile crashing through the ice. Deputies canvassed the area and located Dubay, who was sitting in his car at the Crystal Lake Beach parking lot.

“After a period of questioning, deputies determined that the claim of a snowmobile crashing through the ice was completely fabricated,” the sheriff’s office said. “It appears that after making this false report, Dubay remained in the area to await and watch the emergency response.”

Deputies also allege that Dubay’s fake 911 call was similar in nature to three other 911 calls that ended up being hoaxes. Those calls occurred in Raymond and Gray and ranged back as far as May. The false reports involved structure fires and police or medical emergencies.

“The nature of the previous, false 911 reports also elicited heavy response from Fire/EMS and law enforcement,” the news release said. “False reports like these create unnecessary risk to both first responders and the public. Public safety agencies and all our communities agree that false reports are no joke and come with serious consequences.”

The sheriff’s office said it continues to investigate whether Dubay was responsible for making other false reports. It did not specify when those calls were made or how many were made.

Dubay is scheduled to appear in Portland District Court on March 11. He could face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if found guilty of the charges against him.

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