Police Worry About Growth of "Swatting" Pranks

False reports to draw out SWAT teams are going to get somebody killed


Neither Ashton Kutcher nor Miley Cyrus was home when they became "swatting" victims. But a Los Angeles prosecutor, who was home—blogging in the middle of a July night last year when a SWAT team banged on his door, yelling "Fire!" and pointing guns at him through a window—described his experience with the hoax as the most terrifying night of his life.

Deputy District Attorney Patrick Frey, who blogs about his conservative political views, believes he was targeted last summer because of posts he wrote about a convicted bomber. A week after Frey received an email threat, a man who spoofed his telephone called 911 pretending to be him and claiming to have just killed his wife. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office dispatched a SWAT team to Frey's Lomita home just south of Los Angeles—which is exactly what the caller had intended. By the end of the incident, Frey was in handcuffs in a patrol car and his wife was dragged out of bed by deputies while their children slept.