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Phone Call Alarms Sheriff's Office

11-7-2008 Texas:

EL PASO COUNTY - The call sounds official, "This is Terry Wagner with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department, and here as a courtesy call to remind you that there is a sex offender on your block from Nevada." The only problem - the Sheriff's Office is not making the calls and there is no sex offender in the neighborhood.

"It's crazy, I mean I can't quite recognize the voice," says Mike Lamendola, the alleged sex offender referred to in the call. "I don't like that at all and if I find out who's doing it I will take them to court for defamation." We checked his criminal record and he's doesn't have a sex crime record.

Lamendola heard the message for the first time when NEWSCHANNEL 13 played it for him. "It's not fair to me, I just moved here and labeled as a sex offender or something like that, it's just not fair," says Lamendola.

He thinks it's one of his neighbors making the calls. "I think a few bad eggs in the neighborhood are trying to get me in trouble and get me kicked out of the neighborhood."

Lamendola has been in a neighborhood dispute over a shed he's built in his backyard.

"My first reaction is ‘Holy Cow' he seems like such a nice guy," says neighbor Nevin Markel. He is one person who got the message. "Listening to it first I thought it was legitimate, but when I say it was from a pay phone, a little bell went off and it might not be real," says Markel.

NEWSCHANNEL 13 traced the call back to a payphone at a Load n' Jug off Astrozon and Chelton.

Markel is now curious why this caller is trying to ruin his neighborhood. "Why did you do this? It causes discord in the neighborhood and if nobody researches it and somebody took it as factual it could cause a lot of problems."

NEWSCHANNEL 13 contacted the Sheriff's Office when we were tipped off to the bogus call."It's not official," says Lt. Lari Sevene with the Sheriff's Office. "It sounds really strange, it sounds like it's from a phone bank," says Sevene. She says the first tip off is that the caller says, "department" when it's officially the Sheriff's "Office"

She now is asking anyone who got a call like this to call the Sheriff's Office at 719-390-5555. ..News ource.. by

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