By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -
"Swatting" is a prank that has been getting a lot of national attention.
It is when someone contacts 911 and says there is some kind of emergency, but the whole thing is a hoax.
A number of celebrities recently have fell victim to "swatting." Now an Overland Park family says it has happened to them.
It all began when the homeowner heard loud banging coming from the front door. When she answered, she saw dozens of police officers with their guns pointed right at her.
The Overland Park resident said she didn't think much of the strange prank phone calls, which included rap music and heavy breathing. The calls kept coming in late one night a few weeks ago.
She got more concerned when she heard the knocks at the door, but still figured it was neighborhood children up to no good.
"I thought someone is playing a prank on us, so I'm going to see who it is. So I flicked on the lights and yanked the front door open, and I was surprised by several officers in my front yard, all aiming their weapons at me," she said.
It turns out, police were responding to several text messages sent to their emergency line.
The woman's husband said detectives told him the messages were altered to appear to be coming from his home phone number, a technique known as "spoofing."
The texts claimed there was a hostage situation and even that the home was on fire.
Responding officers quickly realized it was just a prank. It was the first of its kind in Overland Park, but the homeowner is not laughing, knowing she or her two young children could have been hurt.
"I guess they thought they were being funny, but something could have happened. I mean, when I yanked that front door open, and they aimed their weapons at me. Luckily, they weren't trigger-happy," she said.
There have been no arrests yet in the case, but she has a strong idea of who is responsible, along with a strong warning.
"They are going to get you. This is not a joke. You can't mess with people like this," she said.
If police do find whoever is behind this latest case of "swatting," they could face up to a year in jail.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:00:37 GMT
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