An out-of-state teen was arrested for allegedly falsely reporting a violent hostage situation in upstate New York last year, among other countrywide "swatting" incidents, according to Putnam County officials.
A 17-year-old Ohioan boy faces 73 counts, which include 40 felonies and 33 misdemeanors, in Mahoning County, Ohio. While the charges were filed Feb. 27, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement Monday.
The charges against the teen boy stems from an incident that allegedly took place on the evening of Aug. 11, 2018, when the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a hostage situation at a house on Ressique Road in the Town of Kent.
The caller alleged that he had an AR-15, had shot his wife and was now holding his son hostage, according to the sheriff’s office. The call prompted law enforcement departments to respond to the scene.
Members of the Sheriff’s Department were able to get in contact with the homeowner who said he was out of state with his family and that the house should be unoccupied, the sheriff’s office says. A neighbor was allegedly able to provide a key to the home.
Law enforcement officials eventually entered the residence and confirmed that it was unoccupied and there was no hostage or other emergency situation, according to the sheriff’s office.
A subsequent investigation produced information about the phone used to make the alleged “fake” emergency call. Investigators learned that there were similar incidents in other jurisdictions around the country, according to the sheriff’s office.
Putnam County investigators in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies from around the country, identified the caller and determined that the calls originated in Mahoning County, Ohio.
The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to handle charges related to the crimes.
Putnam County Sheriff Robert L. Langley, Jr. said he hopes the charges will dissuade others from trying this type of activity.