Cop posed as reporter to help end Maine hostage situation

A reporter in Maine received a surprise call from a hostage taker Monday, and quickly handed his phone to a cop who impersonated him.

Taylor Cairns, a reporter with Portland CBS affiliate WGME, answered the call from Donald White, a 44-year-old man who took three people hostage Monday night in the central Maine town of Livermore Falls.

Police killed White on Tuesday after a 17-hour standoff; all three hostages were saved.

As the situation dragged on Monday night, White dialed Cairns out of the blue, WGME revealed after the incident. Cairns made a split-second decision to alert police, and a hostage negotiator pretended to be Cairns while speaking to White.

WGME “didn’t report this Monday night because we didn’t want to jeopardize the situation. But we were concerned enough about the police pretending to be us that we asked state police for some answers,” the station wrote.

Maine State Police trooper Bill Ross called it a “unique circumstance” but admitted it was “not a good practice.”

Local journalism professors agreed it was a bad idea, the Bangor Daily News reported.

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