INDEPENDENCE TWP. (WWJ) – It’s been happening a lot lately in California involving celebrities. Now, Oakland County deputies are investigating a case of so-called “swatting” in Independence Township.
The Oakland County Dispatch Center, Thursday morning, received a call from a person claiming to have hostages and a machine gun. The caller said he’d “had a bad night,” was high on drugs,” and would kill everyone within 20 minutes if no one showed up at the home, on the 6500 block of Snowapple.
Deputies arrived at the scene and spoke with the homeowner, a 46-year-old man, who said he didn’t make the call and that it must have been a prank.
The man said there was nothing going on, everyone in his home was accounted for, and no one was hurt.
Oakland County Sheriff’s officials say “swatting” is a serious matter in Michigan.
State laws passed in 2012 making it a felony to falsely report a crime or a medical emergency, with penalties of up to four years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. If someone is injured during the call, the person found guilty of making the phony call can be imprisoned for up to 10 years, and up to 15 years if someone is killed during the response to the prank.
The laws also allow that swatters be ordered to reimburse all costs associated with the calls.
The FBI has estimated that a swatting incident can cost up to $10,000.
An investigation into this latest case is ongoing with the help of the Sheriff’s Office Computer Crimes Unit.