KEEGO HARBOR (WWJ) – Police are investigating after a 911 call about a murder and hostage situation in an Oakland County neighborhood turned out to be a prank.
Rick Vestuto was at work Wednesday when he got a call from his neighbor in Keego Harbor — telling him that police were there with guns drawn, ordering his wife to step away from the house.READ MORE: Stalker Victims Concerned Over Apple AirTags & Ability To Be Tracked
Vestuto said he rushed home.
“The police approached me and said that there was a 911 call to Keego Harbor that said Rick Vestuto had shot his wife and had his daughters chained up or tied up in the basement,” Vestuto told WWJ’s Zahra Huber.
“They preceded in our house with their guns drawn, looking in every crack and crevasse and corner of our house, searching for me or searching for somebody, until their could figure out what was actually going on,” Vestuto said. “By the time I’d got there they’d figured out that it was a bogus 911 call.”
No one was hurt.
Keego Harbor police discovered the call came from a computer IP address, and an investigation is ongoing.READ MORE: Grand Valley State University Extends Free Tuition To Students From Low-Income Homes
The term “swatting” is used to describe a scam such as this in which someone calls 911 and makes a false report.
Vestuto doesn’t understand why someone would do this to his family.
“I mean, we’re known through the community, and maybe I have someone who doesn’t like me, or maybe my wife’s got someone who doesn’t like her — I don’t know who that could possibly be,” Vestuto said. “And the cops said it could’ve been an act of a random 911 call because these kids like to record this stuff and put it on YouTube, or share it with their friends. They think it’s cool.”
A similar “swatting” incident happened Thursday in Grosse Pointe Park, where a two hour-long “hostage situation” turned out to be a hoax.
State laws passed in 2012 make 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 response to the prank, the caller faces up to 10 years in prison; 15 years if someone is killed.MORE NEWS: Whitmer Urges Michigan Residents To Claim Free COVID-19 Tests From Federal Government
The laws also allow that “swatters” be ordered to reimburse all costs associated with the calls. The FBI has estimated that a single swatting incident can cost up to $10,000.