A New York City firefighter is accused of making false calls to 911 and taking advantage of his comrade's absence by sneaking into various fire houses and stealing their belongings, a Department of Investigation report reveals.

2013_07_jkeene.jpgJoseph Keene admitted to placing five fake calls in order lure his colleagues away from their fire houses, reporting the smell of gas in various locations around Staten Island and Queens. He is being charged with grand larceny, petit larceny, burglary and falsely reporting an incident. Here's how the Inspector General's report describes two of the incidents:

On or about May 29, 2013, a call was made to 911 reporting a smell of gas in the vicinity of Forrest and Veltman Avenues in Staten Island, which resulted in Ladder 83 (875 Jewett Avenue, Staten Island) responding to the area. The report was determined by the FDNY to be an unfounded report. The investigation determined that the cell phone that made the 911 call is registered to Keene, and the 911 system identified that call had been made from a cell phone that was in proximity to the Ladder 83/Engine 163 firehouse. Keene has admitted that he made the 911 report of a smell of gas in the vicinity of Forrest and Veltman Avenues, and that, in sum and substance, he did so in order to enter the firehouse to take money while the Ladder 83 personnel were out responding to the call. While the firehouse was on the false call, Keene entered and stole approximately $150- $200 from the firehouse.

On or about June 2, 2013, a call was made to 911 reporting a transformer sparking in the vicinity of Victory Boulevard and Forrest Avenue in Staten Island, which resulted in Ladder 80 (1573 Castleton Ave., Staten Island) responding to the area. The report was determined by the FDNY to be an unfounded report. The investigation determined that the cell phone that made the 911 call is the same one discussed above registered to Keene, and the 911 system identified that call had been made from a cell phone that was in proximity to the 2 Ladder 80/Engine 157 firehouse. While the firehouse was responding to the false call, Keene admitted, in sum and substance, that he entered the firehouse and stole between approximately $400-$500.

“It is surprising that a firefighter would both call in fake 911 calls and steal money from colleagues," DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said in a statement. "To do so at this time, when there is a heightened need and demand for units to be responding to legitimate calls to people in need is especially outrageous."

One fellow firefighter was livid, telling the Post, "This guy committed the two cardinal sins of a firefighter. He called in fake jobs, the exact opposite of what we do, and does this to steal from the brothers. Unbelievable, it’s just unconscionable.”