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Telemarketer calls 911 impersonating Washington County resident

John Karas is escorted from his home at gunpoint after a telemarketer impersonating him says he killed his wife
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 9:50 PM EST
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) -

Monday afternoon, John Karas of Washington County was enjoying his day off and cleaning his house, only to be distracted by multiple calls from telemarketers.

At a certain point, Karas said to his wife, “the next person that calls, I’m gonna really let ‘em have it.”

Shortly after, Karas received a call, to which he answered, “this is not Mr. Karas, go to h***.”

The caller must have taken exception to this call, because the Marietta Police Department 911 dispatch then received a call from what appeared to be Karas’ number, but it was not John Karas on the other end of the line.

A voice which Karas later said sounded exactly like what he heard minutes earlier, tells the dispatcher, “Sir, my name is John Karas... I am calling to surrender myself because... I just killed my wife.”

The dispatcher went on to have a lengthy conversation with the caller, while the Washington County Sheriff’s Office headed to Karas’ house.

It was later revealed that Karas was not the one calling, and his wife was perfectly fine, but not after Karas was escorted from his home at gunpoint, and handcuffed.

“We took him out at gunpoint. An unfortunate situation that we had to do, but we thought we were responding to a call where a man had shot his wife,” Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says.

Karas says he was rattled by the experience, but understood it had to happen.

“I told him that his guys were excellent, they did what they had to do. Scared the living heck out of me... but it was what they had to do,” Karas says.

Mincks says the Sheriff’s Department has not yet been able to identify the individual who impersonated Karas, and he says it will be extremely difficult to do so, because the caller masked their number and made it appear that they were calling from Karas’ home phone.

Karas and Mincks both caution residents to be careful while dealing with unknown callers.

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