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One 17-year-old Ohio teen is learning a hard lesson about the difference between a prank call and felonious conduct. Though, if the allegations are true, that lesson might be sorely overdue.
The kid is facing 40 felony charges and nearly as many misdemeanors for nearly a dozen swatting calls he made to law enforcement offices across the country. He wasn't calling his neighbors to ask if their refrigerators were running, he was calling in fake emergencies to police departments with the hope that SWAT and other emergency responders would be deployed to the scene of an emergency that didn't exist.
Swatting Is a Serious Crime
Swatting involves a culprit calling in a fake emergency to police department, such as a hostage situation, that would elicit an immediate, heavy response from the police. It's basically taking the fake bomb threat up a notch.
And as the local sheriff department's press release explains, the 70-plus criminal charges that the Ohio teen now faces should convince others to avoid swatting. With law enforcement departments getting more and more adept at utilizing the technology of today, individuals who fake calls to police are more likely than ever to be tracked down and face criminal prosecution, especially when those calls result in a deployment of emergency resources or, worse, in tragedy.
Swatting has Serious Consequences
In addition to criminal penalties for the act of calling in fake emergencies, if something goes wrong, like the police shooting someone, the person calling in the fake emergency could potentially face additional criminal charges for the police's actions in responding to the fake emergency.
As Ars Technica explained, in 2017, a man who placed a similar swatting call which led to the death of an innocent person, resulted in a 20-year sentence for the person who placed the call.