Police responding to a weekend distress call surrounded the Bethesda, Md., house of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, believing a victim had been shot and was in need of treatment.
But it was a hoax.
Mr. Blitzer, one of CNN’s top anchors, was just the latest in a string of “SWAT-ings” that call out police to faked crime scenes that involve famous people, The Press-Enterprise reported. Police, despite doubts, have no choice but to respond.
In the end, the community pays — in terms of tax dollars that are wasted on the emergency response. Some estimates say each SWAT-ing call costs about $10,000.
Other similar pranks have hit Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber, Ryan Seacrest and the Kardashian family, The Press-Enterprise reported.
California Sen. Ted Lieu has introduced legislation to increase penalties against false crime reporters. The bill, if passed, would require caught pranksters to pay the full costs of the response.