- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Armed police officers lined up outside a University of Montana apartment Tuesday, ready to respond to a hostage situation.

Inside, 31-year-old Jamie Greenwood was obliviously playing Minecraft online — that is, until an anonymous gamer messaged her and told her to look outside.

The gamers had “swatted” Greenwood by making an anonymous false police report designed to prompt a dramatic response, reports The Missoulian (https://bit.ly/1JSjaQT ).

In some cases of swatting, police have broken down doors and ordered people to the ground with weapons.

In Missoula, Greenwood’s husband Ian prevented such a scenario by stepping outside and immediately complying with the officer’s commands.

He was patted down and handcuffed as he explained what happened.

Jamie Greenwood sat on the couch with her hands in the air talking to the anonymous gamers, who watched her over a live video feed.

The computer-savvy couple is familiar with the practice of swatting and said it is a form of terrorism and bullying.

Ian is finishing a graduate degree in sociology with an emphasis in cyber bullying and Jamie has a degree in computer science.

The Missoula detective who interviewed the couple Tuesday said police don’t know the perpetrator’s identity or motive, but sexism might be reason enough for a swatting attack.

Detective Stacy Lear said the practice is a way for gamers trying to harass their opponents and says women are a frequent target.

“Honestly, a lot of these guys just want attention. It’s entertaining for them,” said Lear.

She has referred the case to University of Montana police.

If caught, the person could face misdemeanor charges of privacy in communications or making false reports to law enforcement.

___

Information from: Missoulian, https://www.missoulian.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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