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Caller of Fake Mayday Gets 30 Months

A 53-year-old Salinas man was sentenced this week to 30 months in federal prison for calling in a false mayday in October of ’08, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Kurtis Thorsted, who was at his home at the time of the call, told authorities that he was in a kayak off Santa Cruz and having trouble getting to shore. But it wasn’t the first time; the court found he’d made 51 false maydays over six months, and that the calls cost the Coast Guard $102,000 in search costs. Thorsted was sentenced to two years in the pen and ordered to pay $29,000 in restitution back in ’04 for the same offense. According to the article, one of the earlier incidents delayed the rescue of two fishermen from their sinking boat when a Coast Guard helo was forced to refuel after searching for the non-existent Thorsted. Thorsted’s public defender reportedly wrote in a sentencing memo that her client had suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1999 that left him permanently disabled. That’s unfortunate, but someone has to figure out how to keep a radio out of this guy’s hands.

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