Police Address Dangerous Swatting Trend

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Its called swatting. And police in Connecticut say it is becoming all too common. Police rush to a scene of a crime, only to find out its all a hoax. (Published Friday, Apr 18, 2014)

    Authorities have grown increasingly concerned over false emergency calls or reports made by unknown assailants. It's called "Swatting" and police in Connecticut say it's becoming all too common.

    In the last month swatting hoaxes have been reported in at least five different communities. In all these instances police can't figure out a motive.

    It's happening across the state and on Thursday night it put one Greenwich neighborhood on edge.

    Greenwich police said they received a call just before 8 p.m. from someone who called 911, claiming to be armed and holding people hostage at a home on Round Hill Road.

    "She couldn't approach from either direction," Larry Posner of Greenwich said. His wife ran into a heavy police presence that night.

    "She spent a couple of hours sitting in a diner in Greenwich while this unfolded and in the end we learned it was purely a hoax the house was empty and the police left," Posner said.

    Officers went to the private home and said no one was inside. Police said  they are trying to find the person behind the call.

    "Swatting is using some sort of computerized technology to make it look as if a 911 call or any other emergency call is coming from here when in fact it's coming from somewhere else," said Officer Joseph Race of the Madison Police Department.

    Police in Madison have dealt with three such incidents in town. All of them came over a two week span in January.

    "One call was for a suspicious vehicle the other ones were threats of violence or an act of violence occurring which prompted a tremendous response," Race said.

    Police swarmed the area around Horsepond Road for both incidents, but it turned a teenager from Long Island had made the fake call.

    Investigators in Watertown, Willimantic and Old Saybrook have also dealt with these cases of swatting.

    "It puts not only responding officers in danger, the motoring public in danger because now it's other cars that have to get out of the way for our emergency lights but also the homeowner," said Race.

    Residents are hopeful police will find the prankster who put their Greenwich neighborhood into lockdown.

    "It's still a little uncomfortable that someone would make a call like this," said Jason Kaltz who also lives on Round Hill Road in Greenwich. "It's just very quiet this is the first we've had any experience like this."