Sheer Gall of Pantyhose Prankster Lands Man in Prison

Rip Alan Swartz, 43, from Shiremanstown, PA arrested for making thousands of calls about pantyhose. (Photo courtesy: Upper Allen Township Police)

A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to nine months in prison for making thousands of vulgar phone calls about pantyhose.

Rip Alan Swartz, 43, told police he “got his jollies” from making the phone calls, sometimes as many as 400 in one day. Swartz reportedly made over 6,000 calls in about 50 days in September 2010.

Swartz would call hotels, banks, restaurants and call centers. He made calls all over the United States and as far away as the Philippines.

“The verbiage was the same on every phone call,” Det. Sgt. Thomas Kauffman of the Upper Allen Township Police Department told “He would ask them how their day was going, be really polite and then say, ‘I bet you can’t wait to get home and get those pantyhose off,’ and would keep talking and getting more graphic.”

Kauffman was the lead investigator on the case that began when two restaurant employees contacted police saying that a man was calling repeatedly to talk about the weather before drifting into pantyhose talk.

As Kauffman began his detective work, he discovered that several other police departments were investigating the same situation. Police tracked the phone number and found out it was purchased under a fraudulent name that led them to a man in Texas who was not involved.

The big break in the case came when Swartz called a hotel in Virginia and the woman who answered decided to play along and try to get information from him. He threw out his real name in conversation and mentioned he lived in Harrisburg, Pa.

Police were relieved to find there was only one Rip Alan Swartz in the state of Pennsylvania and began watching him and tracking calls, and they soon had enough information for an arrest.

“All he would do would get phone books and call places out of the book or places he saw on TV,” Kauffman said. “He wasn’t as sophisticated as we thought.”

“I asked him why he did this and he said that’s how he ‘gets his jollies,’” Kauffman said. “He told me that a lot of the time he was unemployed and would sit around and make constant phone calls.”

Kauffman said Swartz was cooperative and confessed to what he had been doing, but didn’t realize it was a serious problem.

“It was a challenge to him,” Kauffman said. “He wanted to see how long he could keep them on the phone and get them into conversation. He estimated that out of 100 calls he could get two women to stay on the line and talk to him.”

Swartz was charged with dozens of counts of harassment from different counties. While some counties dismissed the charges or sentenced him to probation, at least one sentenced him to prison time. He is currently in custody at a Pennsylvania state prison.

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