17-year-old faces 140 charges over series of 911 'swatting' calls

A 17-year-old from Ohio is facing 140 counts of delinquency including misdemeanors and felonies for a series of 911 "swatting" calls, prank calls designed to elicit a SWAT team response, ABC News reported Wednesday.

The teenager allegedly placed fake 911 calls that prompted SWAT mobilization in six jurisdictions across the country, including Ohio, Wisconsin and New York.


In one case, a SWAT team reportedly shut down a major highway for hours in response to a fraudulent call.

Wes Skeels, the juvenile court administrator in Mahoning County, told ABC that 73 of the charges, including 40 felonies, stem from incidents that occurred in Ohio and date back to May 2017.

Skeels added that the suspect, who is unnamed due to his juvenile status, appeared in juvenile court on Monday and was ordered to undergo psychological and competency examinations.

Dodge County, Wis., Sheriff Dale Schmidt told ABC he was relieved the suspect had been prosecuted.

"I am thankful for the prosecution because we need to make sure that we send a message to others out there that might decide it's a good idea to try something like this," he said.

"It really does put lives at stake and puts them in jeopardy of serious harm by something as dumb as this."

Schmidt ordered an all-hands emergency response in response a call the teen allegedly placed on March 22, 2018.

"I had my entire SWAT team respond to this incident. I had all of my on-duty staff responding to this incident on a major U.S. highway," Schmidt told ABC. "We had to shut down that highway for a couple of hours ... We had EMS standby to respond and we had other agencies assisting with that shutdown."

As "swatting" has become more common, legislation has been introduced to combat it with stiffer penalties. Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries Fourth-ranking House Democrat backs Trump impeachment Toni Morrison dies at 88 MORE (D-Mass.) was swatted in 2016 and continues to warn about the urgency of the issue.