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Police swarmed the homes of at least five stars this week, only to learn as was well at mansions owned by Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez and others.
The prank known as swatting, which gets its name from the police SWAT teams it sometimes draws, sees a 911 caller falsely claim there’s an emergency happening on a celebrity’s property.
An uptick in swatting has seen Los Angeles-area police using resources they’d rather put elsewhere, and according to a Los Angeles Times report, the LAPD has begun training dispatchers to detect prank calls. It is also now sending fewer vehicles to investigate calls they believe to be from swatters.
Last year saw Simon Cowell, Miley Cyrus and Ashton Kutcher fall victim, while there have been at least seven instances this year. Find below a timeline of the year in swatting (so far).
Selena Gomez became the victim of swatting when a 911 caller claimed her father had shot her mother to death and was on the property with 20 weapons. The caller also claimed the father had plans to burn the home down.
Earlier in the day, Justin Timberlake’s Hollywood Hills property was investigated by police after a 911 caller falsely claimed four black men had entered the singer’s home, fired shots, and left a suspicious box with red blinking lights.
Two armed men were falsely reported to be inside Rihanna’s Pacific Palisades home, with a swatter saying fictitious burglars had shot someone. The singer was not home at the time.
In the biggest swatting prank of the week, more than a dozen police cars and two helicopters were dispatched to Sean Combs’ home after a caller said someone had been shot inside. As an extra precaution, police also secured the home of Diddy’s next door neighbor, Steve Carell. In 2012, a nearby home owned by Miley Cyrus‘ parents was also the target of a swatting prank.
A 12-year-old boy was charged in connection with a late 2012 swatting of Kutcher. The boy, whose name was not released, was also charged with reporting an emergency at a Wilshire Boulevard bank. He faced two felony counts of computer intrusion and making false bomb threats. On March 11 he admitted his guilt. He is also belived to be responsible for a swatting prank involving Justin Bieber.
Chris Brown’s Hollywood Hills home swarmed with police after a swatter called in an incident of domestic violence. Reports indicated Brown was not at home at the time, but members of his staff were. Brown was famously convicted of assaulting girlfriend Rihanna in 2009.
Keeping up With the Kardashians parents Bruce and Kris Jenner’s experience with swatting saw police officers with weapons drawn descend upon the couple’s Hidden Hills mansion. A 911 caller said there had been a shooting at the residence and suspects were still inside. Afterwards, Kendall Jenner tweeted: “kids are really stupid. you know you can get arrested for something like this? #pointless lol.”
Tom Cruise’s Beverly Hills home was falsely reported as the site of an armed robbery. The actor was not home at the time, but his security cleared things up with police. The Beverly Hills Police Department would later say about half of its emergency resources had been occupied with the Cruise swatting.
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