In what was apparently a phone prank, a motel guest said someone called his room and told him to smash the things inside in order to free a "midget" trapped next door.
Spartanburg County sheriff's deputies told WXII sister station WYFF that they were called to a Motel 6 on Sunday night after a guest nearly punched through to the next room with a wrench.
A motel worker called deputies after she discovered the man had damaged the television, mirrors, and the wall between rooms, according to a police report.
When deputies arrived, 73-year-old Joseph Jones told them someone had called his room about 11 p.m. and said he was a manager at the motel. Jones said the male caller told him the previous guest had installed highly sophisticated cameras in his room. The caller told Jones not to bother looking for them and instead, the caller would instruct him on how to get rid of the cameras.
Jones said the caller asked him if the TV was on, and if it was to turn it off and unplug it. Jones said he did as he was told.
Next, he was told to remove the back toilet cover and to smash the TV with it. He did and the cover shattered without breaking the TV screen, so he was instructed to throw the TV outside. Jones did as he was instructed.
At some point, according to the report, Jones gave the caller his cell number so he did not have to keep running back to the room phone.
The instructions continued, Jones told deputies. The male caller told him cameras were also behind the mirrors in the room, and that he needed to smash the mirrors. Jones grabbed a wrench that he found in the room and smashed the mirrors, the report said.
Jones said the caller then said that a "midget" who was 4 feet 3 inches tall was barricaded in the room next to him and that he needed to help police get to him. With that, the report said, Jones took his wrench and began to break away the wallboard behind the room door. He broke through to the next room but then stopped due to complaints from other guests about the loud noises.
While Jones was telling deputies his story, he got another call on his cell phone from the male suspect. The report said Jones gave the phone to a deputy, who took the call.
According to the report, there was a man on the other line stating that he survived gunshots and was coming back to the Motel 6. The man was asking if all of the cameras were destroyed. The man on the phone then realized that he was speaking to someone other than the guest. He then said, "I have the wrong number," and disconnected. The number that the man called from was blocked. Before hanging up, the man made reference to a video game.
Deputies explained to the motel worker what happened, and she said she had recently received information from corporate about similar situations at other hotels. The deputy said that while he was in the lobby several other guests called the front desk to report that they had gotten a phone call similar to the one that went to room 107.
No charges were filed, but the manager did ask Jones to leave, according to the report.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Motel 6’s parent company vice president of safety and security Victor Glover Sr., said: “This is an unfortunate situation that has been occurring in various forms for years throughout the hotel industry and around the country.
"We are grateful that, although the room and its contents suffered damage, none of our guests or team members were injured as a result of this incident.”