Radio prankster convicted

........................................................................................................................................................................................

An ex-employee of the Socorro County Detention Center has been convicted on charges stemming from his April 12 prank broadcast over police radio frequencies.

Keith Bailey was convicted in Magistrate Court on May 16 of misdemeanor resisting an officer; petty misdemeanor tampering with evidence; misdemeanor impersonating a peace officer; and interference with communications, also a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 120 days’ probation on each count and has to pay $232 in probation and court costs, according to the Magistrate Court case docket.

Deputy Ed Sweeney, during an interview April 29, said Socorro County Sheriff’s Department deputies were assisting Socorro Police Department officers in a foot pursuit the afternoon of April 12 when their radios were jammed by Bailey’s fictional broadcast.

Undersheriff Les Torres said he recognized the man’s voice, and officers and deputies went to Bailey’s residence to apprehend him.

Sweeney said Bailey had been fired from the Socorro County Detention Center not long before the incident, and apparently took a radio with him. Sweeney said since the detention center radio was already programmed, Bailey was able to hook it up at home and communicate with it.

The criminal complaint filed in Socorro Magistrate Court states that while SPD officers and SCSD deputies were involved in a foot pursuit, someone who knew officers by name began talking on the police radio frequency. The person used a lot of “lewd conduct” on the radio. Several times during the foot pursuit, police had to wait for the person to stop transmitting so they could transmit.

Eventually the man began transmitting on the sheriff’s department frequency, according to the criminal complaint, and he continued transmitting for some time. He claimed to be Evangel Maldonado, the jail administrator, and reported a riot at the jail, requesting backup.

Once Bailey’s voice was identified, officers and deputies went to his home near Lemitar. Police blotters indicate authorities found Bailey highly intoxicated when they arrived at his residence. According to the criminal complaint, Bailey came out of his house and began shouting at police, then went back inside. Officers talked him into coming back out, then detained him just inside the doorway.

While apprehending Bailey, officers found a Motorola in-car police radio in plain view, according to the criminal complaint. Bailey was Mirandized, eventually admitting he was the person interfering on the radio, according to the complaint. He also turned over to authorities two handheld radios he had in the front seat of his Chevrolet pickup.