Police warn of the consequences for swatting after hoax call

The crime could lead to 3 years in prison or thousands in fines
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 3:47 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - Stevens Point police investigators are still trying to find who prank-called dispatch on Friday. About a dozen officers were on high alert as they went into a potential murder-suicide situation that turned out to be a hoax.

Friday afternoon police officers set up on the corner of Fourth Ave. and Prentice Street in Stevens Point. Everyone was on high alert after police were alerted that a male had shot his girlfriend and was going to kill himself in 10 minutes.

Fourth Ave. and Prentice Street is where officers set-up near the scene.
Fourth Ave. and Prentice Street is where officers set-up near the scene.(wsaw)

“I started to request additional resources from other agencies around here, Portage County Sheriff’s Department assisted, UWSP police assisted, we had the Stevens Point Fire Department on stand by,” said Lieutenant Steve Spath, Stevens Point Police Department.

Lieutenant Spath said he considered calling in the SWAT team. While monitoring the home and attempting to make contact with the apparent suspect, a pizza was delivered to that same house. 10 minutes later, a second pizza arrived. That’s when officers started to wonder.

“Is this real or is this some sort of hoax,” said Lieutenant Spath.

Lieutenant Spath said he started to question if it was a set-up. He said Marathon County had a similar situation a week prior.

“What’s going on somewhere else that they had us come over here to set up, and you know, if there was possibly a robbery going on or something to that nature,” said Lieutenant Spath.

A squad car eventually approached the home and got a man to come out, but police quickly realized the man wasn’t the suspect and didn’t know what was happening.

“That’s not funny. It could have been dangerous. It could have been dangerous for that homeowner ‘cause we do have our weapons drawn,” said Lieutenant Spath.

Now, police want you to know that a prank like this is a felony that could cost you three years in prison or $100,000 in fines.

“It takes our resources away from other things that we need to be doing and it’s not a joke,” said Lieutenant Spath.

If you have any information please contact the Stevens Point Police Department non-emergency number at (715) 346-1500.

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