GREENWICH, Conn. -- Two calls to Greenwich police reporting a violent domestic incident with hostages being taken in Cos Cob on Monday night turned out to be a hoax, police said.
The calls, often referred to as "swatting," came in at about 6 p.m. Monday, March 30, on the non-emergency number, not 911, said Lt. Kraig Gray, public information officer for the Greenwich Police Department.
Although the initial call "lacked some credibility," Gray said, officers were dispatched to investigate.
The shift commander took affirmative action to control the scene and locate any victims, he said. River Road between East Putnam Avenue and Robertson Lane was closed for a little over an hour during the investigation at an apartment building in that area. No domestic incident was discovered, and there were no injuries or victims found, he said in a statement.
"Based upon all the available facts, our investigators are pursuing the incident as a hoax with its originator currently unknown," Gray said.
There has been a national trend in which people misuse the resources of a police department in hoax emergency calls.
In a “swatting” incident, a hoax call is placed to emergency responders in order to draw a response from law enforcement, usually a SWAT or tactical team, Gray said.
The individuals who engage in this activity use technology to make it appear that the emergency call is coming from the victim’s phone. Sometimes swatting is done for revenge, other times as a prank.
The FBI believes that most who engage in swatting are serial offenders who are also involved in other cyber-crimes such as identity theft and credit card fraud who exploit the anonymity of the Internet plus the readily availability of technology to mask their true identity.
Hoax calls, or making false reports to law enforcement, are serious crimes that are frightening to the target and surrounding community, cause an unnecessary drain on resources, and potentially puts lives in danger, Gray said.
The Greenwich Police Department will continue to investigate and attempt to identify its perpetrators.
Another swatting incident occurred in Greenwich in April 2014 when there was a report of hostages being taken at a Round Hill Road home that turned out to be a hoax.
When Greenwich police responded to the 600 block of Round Hill Road, officers found no one in the home where the call was believed to be coming from.
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