Police arrest firefighter in obscene call case By Katie McDevitt, Tribune February 28, 2006

Chandler police arrested a Phoenix firefighter Thursday after several women said they received sexually harassing phone calls.

Police tracked dozens of early morning calls to the union-issued cell phone of Phillip Michael Preston, 30, of Anthem.

According to police reports, a Phoenix firefighters wife who lives in Chandler told police in November that a man called her multiple times, uttering obscene comments and making sexually suggestive noises. The woman thought the caller was a co-worker of her husband, since she only got the calls when he was at work.

Police traced the call and subpoenaed Prestons cell phone records, which revealed 23 blocked calls made in a half-hour time period early Nov. 14, the report showed. This was the same time period the woman talked to the caller.

Police phoned the numbers and reached two of Prestons co-workers, an in-law from Scottsdale and another woman all saying theyd had heavy-breathing calls.

Upon talking with the women, police learned Preston was linked to harassment of a relative and another firefighter in person, the report said.

Assistant Fire Chief Bob Kahn would not comment on Prestons arrest pending an internal affairs investigation.

I know weve been working with internal affairs and Chandler police department and well make some decisions then, Kahn said.

Typical punishments range from reprimands to termination, Kahn said, but he would not say if Preston would be punished.

Preston was a member services representative for two years at the United Phoenix Firefighters Association Local 493. His duties at the organization have included taking care of injured, sick and recuperating firefighters and family members, and helping with funeral arrangements when someone dies, said association president Billy Shields. He has been a member of the association for eight years.

Shields was not available for comment Monday, but in an interview last week, he told the Tribune he disconnected Prestons cell phone after hearing from police.

Neither Preston nor his attorney could be reached for comments.

According to the report, Preston denied knowledge of the calls when confronted by a relative. Preston said he also received late-night calls.

Preston was given a citation, which accuses him of using the telephone to intimidate, threaten or harass someone. The offense is a class one misdemeanor, which carries fines up to $2,500 and six months in jail.

Contact Katie McDevitt by email, or phone (480) -898-633

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