.

Deputies Respond with Show of Force to Hoax in Rancho Santa Margarita

The call for help came in via Skype in a false report known as "swatting."

Orange County Sheriff's deputies responded to what they were told was a hostage situation in Rancho Santa Margarita Wednesday. Photo credit: Barbie Millspaugh Cherrison
Orange County Sheriff's deputies responded to what they were told was a hostage situation in Rancho Santa Margarita Wednesday. Photo credit: Barbie Millspaugh Cherrison
What looked like serious police activity Wednesday evening in Rancho Santa Margarita turned out to be a hoax, Orange County Sheriff's officials said.

According to the blotter, the call came in at 7:08 p.m. Wednesday as a report that man shot his mother on Avenida de Los Fundadores. 

Lt. Jeff Hallock said deputies were skeptical from the start.

"It was only a patrol response and we did not exert any additional resources because we believed that it was possibly a prank as it turned out to be," Hallock said.

The call came in through Skype from an unknown location, Hallock said. This type of hoax is known as "swatting," and is often used to send a large show of force -- and maybe even a SWAT team -- to a home. Past incidents included celebrities as targets, including Ashton Kutcher, Tom Cruise, Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Clint Eastwood.

"It has happened all across southern California over the last several years," Hallock said.

In Wednesday's incident, "We were able to safely make contact with the homeowner and discover they did not make the call," Hallock said.

A new law makes such false reports illegal, punishable by a year in jail and fines.


Brainwashed_In_Church June 19, 2014 at 10:29 PM
Good practice. RSM is about as safe as cities come.
Jane June 20, 2014 at 09:20 AM
I was on my way to work last night about 7:30 p.m, and Fundadores was blocked off. I had to make a detour, and I saw a helicopter circling overhead. Glad it turned out to be nothing!
Shawn Gordon June 20, 2014 at 07:39 PM
I'm sorry, but this statement just doesn't jive ""It was only a patrol response and we did not exert any additional resources because we believed that it was possibly a prank as it turned out to be," Hallock said" there were multiple patrol cars, helicopter and they broke the door down on the innocent family who was targeted in this swatting exercise. That hardly matches with what Hallock is saying.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »