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Greenwich PD: 'Hostage' Incident Is Deemed a Hoax

Greenwich Police say the hoax mirrors a national trend using Internet technology to create fake emergency incidents.

Patch file photo by Barbara Heins.
Patch file photo by Barbara Heins.

Greenwich Police say the reported hostage situation that closed down a portion of an upper Round Hill Road neighborhood for several hours this week was a hoax.

Police are investigating whether it was part of a national trend called "swatting," in which Internet technology is used to create seemingly real emergency situations that require a heightened police response — but in the end are nothing more than time-consuming hoaxes.

Just before 8 p.m. April 17, a Greenwich Police dispatcher received a 911 call during which the caller reported an armed person was holding several hostages in a home in the 600 block of Round Hill Road. The surrounding neighborhood was cordoned off while tactical units tried to make contact with residents of the home. It turned out no one was home and there wasn't any hostage situation. 

Here is the Greenwich Police statement released April 18:
"We continue to investigate the incident last night regarding the report of hostages being taken at a private residence on Round Hill Road.  Based upon all the available facts our investigators are pursuing the incident as a hoax with its originator currently unknown. 

"Unfortunately, there has been a national trend of which persons have misused the resources of a police department in hoax emergency calls. Often referred to as “swatting,” a hoax call is placed to emergency responders in order to draw a response from law enforcement, usually a "SWAT" or tactical team. 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 inherent 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 which are frightening to the target and surrounding community, cause an unnecessary drain on resources,  and potentially puts lives in danger. 
  
"The Greenwich Police Department will continue to investigate this very serious incident and attempt to identify its perpetrators."

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