(LOS ANGELES) — Police arrested a youngster who they say is responsible for a string of “swatting” incidents at the homes of actor Ashton Kutcher and pop star Justin Bieber.
Some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus and Simon Cowell have all been the victim of “swatting,” the scary new trend in which people call 911and report fake crimes such as a robbery or home invasion, and an emergency response team is dispatched to the scene.
“They were able to locate an individual, a youngster, a juvenile, quite young, who was responsible for both incidences,” Andy Neiman of the Los Angeles Police Department said.
The term “swatting” is derived from SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), a type of emergency response team, and such calls are considered criminal.
Police say the boy falsely contacted police on Oct. 3, claiming several people had been shot inside Kutcher’s home. The call spurred a massive police response, including a SWAT team and paramedics. But officials determined it was all an elaborate hoax, and that Kutcher wasn’t even home at the time.
Clearing up the confusion for fans, Kutcher posted a picture from the set of Two and a Half Men after the hoax with the message: “Safe and sound at Two and a Half Men. Don’t miss tomorrow night 8:30.”
“We have just been really fortunate that nobody’s been seriously hurt or killed in any of these incidences so far,” Neiman said.
A week later, police said the young suspect did the same thing at Bieber’s home, claiming there were guns and explosives, and that people had been shot. But that was also all a hoax.
Cyrus has also been a victim of “swatting,” and last month police swarmed Cowell’s home after receiving a call that The X-Factor judge was being held hostage. Police responded, but once again, it was a hoax — one that Cowell likely didn’t see the humor in it.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Frank Pallotta, CNN
Noelle Baldwin, Deseret News
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com