A heated conversation between a telemarketer and uninterested homeowner took a dramatic turn when the telemarketer allegedly told the potential customer there was a bomb in his house.
The shocked homeowner then called 911, triggering an evacuation of his Mead, Colo., neighborhood until it was determined safe by a bomb squad, Denver's ABC 7 News reports.
Deputies from the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, and officers from the Colorado State Patrol, Dacono Police, Firestone Police and Mountain View Fire Department searched the home at 229 Eagle Ave. and several houses next to it, but did not find a bomb, Sgt. Tim Schwartz, spokesperson for the Weld County Sheriff's Office, told the Greeley Tribune.
According to a recording of the 911 call obtained by the television station, the mystery telemarketer called the home five times, threatening to kill the homeowner if he tried to leave the house.
Schwartz said the Weld County Sheriffs Office is still attempting to track down the caller, saying that this type of threat was "completely out of the ordinary," 7 News notes.
Investigators said it may be next to impossible to track down the salesperson but will alert the FBI if it is determined the call was placed from outside the country.
However, in some cases, telemarketers have been threatened by customers.
In a 2009 incident involving a fed-up Ohio mechanic and a St. Louis auto warranty company, Charles Papenfus threatened to burn the company to the ground and kill its salespeople. St. Louis police then arrested Papenfus for making terroristic threats, Consumerist reports.
Papenfus, who later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, gained some measure of notoriety following his arrest. The St. Louis Post-Dispath reports several Internet sites hailed him as a "consumer folk hero."
Customers wishing to report harassing telemarketer behavior should consult with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). After placing one's name on a "Do-Not-Call list," the FCC can then issue warning citations and impose fines against companies violating or suspected of violating the do-not-call rules. Some states also allow lawsuits if a company or individual repeatedly violates the FCC's rules.