Brewer- Brewer Police are still hunting for the person who made a 9-1-1 call last night falsely alerting police that a family was held hostage at gunpoint.
An alarming night in Brewer…until officers realized it was all a prank. But it seems that these calls are nothing new.
“It’s obviously just for attention,” said Jason Moffitt, Deputy Chief of the Brewer Police Department.
It’s called “swatting.” It’s when a false 9-1-1 call is placed to trick dispatch into sending police and SWAT teams to unsuspecting victims. The tactic was originally created by online gamers to interrupt their rivals, but it’s not something police take lightly.
The dangerous trend has spread outside the gaming world, and since last nights hoax, the Brewer Police are taking the situation very seriously. They are doing what they can to catch the person responsible. And once they do, that person will face a series of harsh consequences.
“In a case like this here, it would actually be a felony, terrorizing, because it caused the evacuation of a building. Additionally, one thing we don’t do very often but we might do in a case like this, just to reinforce the point that we’re not going to allow it, is trying to recover civil penalties. There’s nothing that would stop us from actually taking a person to court to try to recover our costs,” said Moffitt.
Each time police are dispatched, tax dollars are wasted. In a case like the one in Brewer, not only were several officers and outside assistance dispatched, but the victims of the call were blindsided and scared.
“It’s a terrible thing to do because it really can upset some people, and put the whole community at risk. I think they ought to think twice about doing that type of thing,” said Ernest Hutchins, owner of the house that was called in to police.
At this time it is still unclear whether the perpetrators had any connection to the home owners. The crime is still under investigation.