LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)– Lexington Police tell LEX 18 that they believe a call they received about a woman being held hostage at a Paris Pike farm Thursday night was a hoax. They believe it’s tied to a trend called “swatting” that has been reported nationwide.
Lieutenant Scott May says that from the beginning, there was something strange about the call to the horse farm, but they still had to do a full sweep of the farm.
The cell phone making the call was traced to Corpus Christi, Texas.
Police believe they were “swatted,” which is when someone calls authorities with a fake emergency to get a SWAT response. Swatting seems to be popular in the gaming community where people try to get police to respond while someone is live streaming online.
A Youtube search shows video after video of compilations where the calls work and police break in.
“It doesn’t take much to figure out where you’re at from a live stream,” said Game King employee Bert Gawthrop.
Gawthrop said that the swatting calls seem to work.
“I feel bad because they’re wasting police resources, and I’m sure it’s very scary for the people. Especially people that have their families there and their family doesn’t understand the streaming culture,” he said.
Police said that the reason for Thursday night’s call is not known. May said that swatting calls can be intended to retaliate against someone or to simply harass. In every case, they’re dangerous.
May said that this is only the second call like this he can remember in the last few years.
Police said that no one has been charged in Thursday night’s swatting call. May said that depending on the circumstances, callers could face serious charges.