The crime with a celebrity sub-genre: 'Swatting' joins the prank ranks
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, was published in 2014.
Wednesday 19 December 2012
In the wee hours of 10 October, an emergency call reached the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, claiming shots had been fired at a gated mansion in the wealthy Casablasas neighbourhood.
The gunman, said the anonymous caller, was threatening the neighbours. Armed cops converged on the house, only to find it empty. Its owner, teen megastar Justin Bieber, was away on tour. On Tuesday, the LAPD announced it had arrested a juvenile suspect on suspicion of “swatting”. The boy, who has not been named, is thought to be responsible for the Bieber hoax call, and for playing the same prank on Ashton Kutcher.
“Swatting”, so-called for the police SWAT teams it aims to attract, has been around for at least 10 years, but the crime’s celebrity sub-genre is relatively new. Among the other victims are Miley Cyrus and Simon Cowell; in November, a caller alleged a hostage was tied up in the X Factor judge’s Beverly Hills pad. Cowell was at home when the police arrived. There was no trace of the fictional victim. LA police are, to put it mildly, unamused by the trend.
- 1 Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The one chart that shows how George Osborne is almost certainly going to be our next Prime Minister
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...
£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...
£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...