Sunday, December 23, 2007

Prank calls draw SWAT teams to unsuspecting homes

"As SWAT officers surrounded an Alvarado home in rural Johnson County, they steeled themselves for a confrontation with what they believed to be a drug-crazed man armed with an AK-47 who had already killed his wife, taken hostages and wanted to kill police.

But what they found was an innocent 60-year-old trucker. No bloody crime scene, no assault rifle – only unanswered questions.

Authorities soon realized they had encountered a disturbing and dangerous new prank that has been labeled "SWATing."

Four men and a woman have pleaded guilty in Dallas federal court to charges that they used "spoofing" technology and other phone system intrusion methods to alter their caller ID information. Over a period stretching from 2002 to late 2006, they called police in Johnson County and more than 60 cities around the country, pretending to be inside someone's home, saying they had killed people, had taken hostages and were ready to kill more.

The aim of SWATing is to spin a tale grisly enough to get tactical teams deployed to unsuspecting victims' homes.

A few innocent victims have been injured during the SWAT raids: A Florida grandfather was hurt in a fistfight he got into with police who he initially believed were the pranksters, and others have been injured as police busted down doors.

The potential for even more violence is high, said Cpl. Dale Abbott, leader of Cleburne's SWAT team, which responded to the call to the home of Jim Proulx, the Alvarado man who was SWATed last year.

"Say he had heard a noise outside, and say he came out with a gun. It could have turned out really bad," Cpl. Abbott said."

Uh huh. Seeing as how civilians are understandably better shots...a man protecting his property and family has far more reason to get it right...SWAT teams around the country must be ever vigilant as to whose door they crash down or risk "not going home at night." Incredible how a gaggle of geek idjits have caused such havoc in over a dozen states with these bogus calls.

Or is it.

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