Sunday, June 16, 2013
An Eastborough home was surrounded by armed officers early Sunday morning but it turns out both police and the homeowners were the victims of a dangerous prank.
It's called “swatting” and it's gotten a lot of national attention because many celebrities and their addresses have been the targets of bogus 911 calls. The callers make up a situation so potentially dangerous, police send out SWAT teams to respond.
Sunday morning, Eastborough police responded to their very first "swatting" hoax.
A man who lives on Huntington Street in Eastborough, and who wants to stay anonymous, tells us his father's day started around 4 A.M. with a very strange phone call.
"The police department called my telephone and asked me if I was having a bad night and I said, 'I don't know what you're talking about,'" the homeowner said.
The police were trying to get a hold of him because someone had texted a security company claiming they lived at that man's address on Huntington. They claimed to be suicidal and said they had a bomb. The security company immediately called local 911 and the Eastborough Police Department responded.
"We have to take every call serious,” Captain Michael Cross said.
Eastborough police called in half a dozen Wichita officers for back up. They surrounded the house and asked the man inside to come out.
"If they weren't SWAT officers they looked like it. They said, 'Let me see your hands.' I was just amazed. I couldn't believe it,” the homeowner said.
It didn't take long for police to realize there was no bomb and the homeowner definitely didn't send the text. The whole thing was a hoax but nobody's laughing.
"We try to protect our citizens and when we're being taking off of calls for false things, even if they think it's funny, it's not,” Captain Cross said.
"I've heard of pranks before but this is ridiculous. As soon as I walked out of the house they said, 'show me your hands,' and what if I didn't do that properly and next thing I know I'm face down in the dirt,” the homeowner said.
Police are still investigating but because the prankster texted a middle party first, 911 wasn't able to track the call.
Police want to remind everyone, making a false report is crime and anyone caught doing so will be arrested.