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Torrance Senator Backs Bill Aimed At Making ‘Swatting’ Pranks A Felony

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On Oct. 3, 2012, police responded to a call from someone at Kutcher’s Hollywood Hills home who said people were in the house with guns and explosives, and that several people were shot. The incident was later determined to be a "swatting" prank. (credit: CBS)

On Oct. 3, 2012, police responded to a call from someone at Kutcher’s Hollywood Hills home who said people were in the house with guns and explosives, and that several people were shot. The incident was later determined to be a “swatting” prank. (credit: CBS)

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Torrance legislator on Wednesday introduced a bill to enact stiffer penalties for any one who falsely reports emergencies, including at homes of entertainers, celebrities and public officials.

Under the proposal by State Senator Ted Lieu, any person convicted of making a false 911 report would be held liable for all costs associated with the response by law enforcement and make it easier to charge a swatting suspect with a felony when someone gets hurt as a result of the prank call.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports so-called “swatting” pranks have targeted a number of Hollywood A-listers in recent weeks.

The as-yet unnumbered bill would also lead to as many as three years in jail for anyone convicted of the crime if a false report results in an injury.

The proposed measure – which is co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – comes in the wake of several false reports of invaders at the homes of actor Tom Cruise, singers Chris Brown and Justin Bieber, among others.

In December, a 12-year-old boy was arrested on charges of allegedly making bogus reports of violence at the homes of Bieber and actor Ashton Kutcher.

Several law enforcement agencies including the Los Angeles Police Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, Beverly Hills Police Department, and others have “unfortunately expended unnecessary resources and put their officers in dangerous situations” in response to “swatting” calls, Lieu said.

LAPD Police Lt. Andy Neimann said oftentimes the 911 caller will go into elaborate detail about reported violent acts at the property in question, including “armed assailants inside the home, holding people hostage.”

No hearing date for Lieu’s legislation has been set.

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