'Swatting' hits South Dakota - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

'Swatting' hits South Dakota

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A family is safe and sound after a prank call to the Moody County Sheriff's Office Friday night said otherwise.

A caller to the sheriff's office claimed to be a 16-year-old boy who lived in Ward. He told the officer he had already shot one of his parents and had three family members held hostage. He also said the house was rigged with a bomb that would explode if the doors were opened.

This type of dangerous prank is happening all over the country. It's called swatting. It has been gaining momentum in the gaming community. The loser of a video game gets back at the winner by faking an emergency call from the winner's house. That's what happened in Ward.

Points are apparently awarded for what type of response shows up -- whether it be a helicopter, police cars, the SWAT team and type of entry.

We spoke to Moody County Sheriff Troy Wellman. He says 15 to 20 law enforcement officers were dispatched to the scene Friday night from neighboring cities and counties -- a waste of resources he says, all for a hoax.

Officers first showed up to the house in Ward -- where the prank caller claimed to live. However, it was the grandfather of the teenager who lived there. After the house was secured, officers went to Elkton where the grandfather told officers his grandson lived currently.

The teenagers was taken out of the house in handcuffs and the house was searched. It became clear after the house was searched that this was a hoax.

"Somebody may not realize what's going on and walk out of their house unprepared to see a bunch of guys with guns standing outside their house and if they have something inside their hand or make the wrong kind of move, that could be something that could turn fatal fairly quickly for basically a prank or a hoax," said Sheriff Wellman.

Thankfully, no one was hurt during this prank. The teenager was not charged with anything, as he didn't do anything wrong. Sheriff Wellman says unfortunately it may take somebody getting accidentally shot in a situation like this before the gaming community realizes just how dangerous these pranks can be.

This hoax is still under investigation.
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