An Ohio teen has been charged with 40 felonies and 33 misdemeanors after a multi-state investigation revealed that he had placed dozens of hoax emergency calls in a practice known as “swatting.”
The investigation was triggered by an August call to the sheriff’s department in Putnam County, New York. A caller claimed he had shot his wife and was holding his son hostage with an AR-15.
Thankfully, that turned out to be a lie. The house was unoccupied, and the police were able to check the story without anyone getting hurt. But the sheriff’s department didn’t let the issue drop. They began investigating who had placed the call.
“Investigators were able to get information about the phone used to make the fake emergency call,” a Putnam County press release states. “They also learned that there were similar incidents in other jurisdictions around the United States.”
Working with other law enforcement agencies, they were able to track down a suspect—a 17-year-old living in Mahoning County, Ohio. Prosecutors there charged the teen with 73 counts of delinquency.
Officials haven’t released the boy’s name or details about the other calls he made. As far as we know, none of the calls led to anyone’s death.
That’s in contrast to a case in December 2017, when a hoax call to police in Wichita Kansas led to the death of an innocent, unarmed man. The man who placed that “swatting” call was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison last week.