WEST BLOOMFIELD (WWJ) – West Bloomfield police respond to an emergency call only to fall victim to a growing trend.
Police said a man called dispatch telling them he shot his wife, held his neighbor hostage before killing him, and then put explosives around his condo at Fox Pointe on Orchard Lake Rd near Lone Pine.
West Bloomfield officers went to the scene and began plans to evacuate residents.
But Lt. Curt Lawson says detectives did background checks online, and determined the whole thing could be a case of swatting:
“Which has been a problem throughout the entire country, where dispatch center received fake calls about a major incident such as this one, and there is a massive police response, a special response team response,” Lt. Lawson said.
Basically, Lawson said, what happens is that the call ties up a lot of police resources that could be better used within the community.
Turns out it was swatting … Police say criminal charges and fines could be brought against the person who made the call.
Swatting” is a term used to describe a scam in which someone calls 911 and makes a false report. After officials arrive on the scene, that person then takes photos or video streams the police activity online — which police say the man is doing in this case.
Regardless, police say they’re not taking any chances and are making sure area residents are safe.
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.
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