LA Police Chief Vows To Find ‘Swatting’ Pranksters Targeting Celebrities
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck vowed to hunt down the pranksters who have reported bogus life and death situations and requested the SWAT team at celebrity homes in the past few months.
The most recent case of “swatting” – where a 911 caller falsely reports a serious crime – involved actor Ashton Kutcher.
The SWAT team was called to his Hollywood Hills home on Wednesday when someone reported shots being fired.
In August, police and firefighters responded to a reported kidnapping and shooting at entertainer Miley Cyrus’ Studio City home.
Chief Beck wasn’t amused by any of the situations.
“If I find out who did that, I’ll prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “It should anger everybody. This is a city that has scarce police resources and to waste them on prank calls…it affects everybody.”
The phony 911 callers have yet to be found, but Beck said he hasn’t given up.
“There are obviously ways you can conceal your identity. We’ll do our absolute best. I have great faith in my detectives. They find some clever criminals every day,” he said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation claims some crank callers are so sophisticated, they can make the 911 call appear as though it’s coming from the home they’ve reported the fake incident. That’s been dubbed as “spoofing.”
The FBI said the culprits are motivated by bragging rights and egomania since there is no financial gain.
Both “swatting” and “spoofing” are federal felonies that also result in a $10,000 fine.