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Monday, February 4, 2008

Swatting: A new low in phone terrorism

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2008 at 5:30 AM

In last week’s cover story, Telephone Terrorist, Scene brought you the tale of a group of social recluses who decided it would be fun to pull pranks on SWAT teams across the country. The men, who met on a phone chat line service, took turns playing practical jokes on one another. The pranks escalated from sending out pizzas that nobody ordered to shutting off people’s phone and power lines. But it got truly dangerous when they started making fake 911 calls, forcing SWAT teams to close roads and evacuate neighborhoods. They are believed to have made more than 100 911 calls during their spree, but one call may have topped them all… In May 2005, a phone line user known as “L’il Hacker” tried to convince a teenage girl to give him phone sex. When she refused, he repeatedly called her Colorado home. In one instance, he asked the girl to put her father, Richard Gasper, a security screener at the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, on the phone. When she refused, L’il Hacker responded, “Then I’m going to blow up the fucking airport with him in it,” federal documents report. L’il Hacker then placed a fake 911 call to the El Paso County sheriff’s office, claiming that a man named John Defanno was holding two people hostage at the Gaspers. SWAT teams rushed to the home and the airport was closed for the day while security experts scoured the place for bombs. FBI agents didn’t return calls seeking comment on the incidents, but insiders believe that L’il Hacker, who turns 18 in May, will soon be indicted for a slew of federal offenses. – Rebecca Meiser

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