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Atlantic Beach man pleads guilty to hoax distress call

The Associated Press

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RALEIGH — An Atlantic Beach man has pleaded guilty in federal court to making a false distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker Jr. said in a news release Friday that 27-year-old Homer Lewis Blackburn pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Raleigh.

Authorities say the Coast Guard received a distress call Oct. 8, 2013, in which the caller said he was abandoning his sinking boat near Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks. Authorities say the search cost more than $288,000.

A witness told Coast Guard investigators that Blackburn used a CB radio mounted to the balcony of his apartment to make the call, then watched the search.

He faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution of the Coast Guard's costs.

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