Police Crack Down on Celeb Swatting Pranksters
By RAPHAEL CHESTANG
December 19, 2012
A new kind of prank known as celebrity swatting seems to be forming a trend in Hollywood, but police say that this joke is no laughing matter.
Celebrity swatting is when a culprit contacts the police making false claims of emergency situations occurring at a celebrity residence. Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus and Simon Cowell are just some of the names that have been plagued by these elaborate hoaxes.
"Regrettably there are people who consider this to be fun," said Steve Whitmore of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. "They want attention. They want to cause this and then sit in their isolated tent and laugh at people."
Swatting can cost taxpayers up to $10,000 and, according to Executive Officer Lt. Lincoln Hoshino of the Beverly Hills Police Department, can put the community in danger.
"If officers are responding to a location where they believe a violent crime is in progress, the officers' response is going to be at a much higher level," said Hoshino.
Police have arrested a juvenile who is suspected to have swatted Bieber and Kutcher's homes, but no charges have been filed.