A teenager is accused of being behind several swatting incidents in Virginia, in which false reports of bombs and shootings were made targeting various schools in Stafford County.
Between May and September of last year, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office responded to several swatting incidents where false reports of bombs and shootings at Stafford High School, Brooke Point High School, Dixon Smith Middle School and Drew Middle School prompted large law enforcement responses, lockdowns and evacuations.
The calls were all determined to be false reports, although they resulted in many anxious students, staff and parents, according to the sheriff’s office.
WHAT IS ‘SWATTING,’ THE ‘CRIMINAL HARASSMENT’ HOAX THAT’S HIT 3 GOP LAWMAKERS SINCE CHRISTMAS?
Detectives looked through phone records and secured a search warrant for the home of a Stafford County teenager in September. Detectives searching the home recovered computers, hard drives and a server the sheriff’s office said would likely rival the National Security Agency.
Following the investigation, the teenager who lived at the home was charged with aiding in terrorism and falsely summoning law enforcement.
As part of a plea agreement in Stafford Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, the teenager pled guilty to five counts of conspiring to make terrorist threats and two counts of falsely summoning law enforcement. All electronic devices were forfeited to the Commonwealth.
“This has been an ongoing investigation and reaches across the United States and abroad,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a press release. “We continue to work closely with the Stafford County Public Schools to provide a safe learning environment for students and staff.”
WASHINGTON STATE MAN CHARGED IN MORE THAN 20 SWATTING CALLS IN US, CANADA PLEADS GUILTY
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Swatting targets a person by calling in a false police report to the target’s home for a violent crime such as a murder, hostage situation or other crime that would require a greater law enforcement response. The goal of the false police report is to prompt a SWAT team response to the target’s home.
Hoaxes like these can lead to deadly results. A police officer shot and killed a man in 2017 while responding to a fake emergency call in Wichita, Kansas.
There have been several swatting incidents targeting Republican and Democrat public officials since Christmas, including GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., Reps. Brandon Williams, R-N.Y., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Boston Democrat mayor Michelle Wu and Maine Democrat Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.