Newport News man sentenced for fake distress call, threats to Coast Guard

Justin Stahmer (Photo courtesy: Dept. of Justice)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Newport News man will spend more than four years in prison for making a false distress call and threats to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday 39-year-old Justin P. Stahmer was sentenced to 56 months — or four years and eight months — for the crimes.

Stahmer pleaded guilty last November. Prosecutors say that in June of 2016, Stahmer called for “man overboard” while he was several miles northeast of Cape Henry.

Related: Man convicted for drunken fake distress call to Coast Guard

However, Stahmer was alone on his boat and no one had fallen over.

Coast Guard officials tried to get more information from Stahmer over the radio for some 45 minutes — and even launched a full search.

Prosecutors say Stahmer initially denied making any distress call. He reportedly became “belligerent and angry” when Coast Guard officers inspected his boat.

Related: Coast Guard sees spike in suspected hoax distress calls

The Virginia Marine Resource Commission Police eventually responded and arrested Stahmer for boating under the influence of alcohol.

Stahmer began to kick and threaten one of the Coast Guard officers, saying he would “take him out” if he ever saw the officer again.