Following a joint investigation with the FBI, Los Angeles-area police have arrested a "juvenile" suspected of contacting authorities about fake crimes the person said had taken place at the homes of actor Ashton Kutcher and singer Justin Bieber.
The person had called authorities on October 3 using teletype, a non-traceable online phone service used by the deaf, during which he claimed to be a woman hiding in a closet in Kutcher's house to avoid a gunman. Police arrived at the scene, surrounded the home with their guns drawn, and found no one suspicious. Kutcher was not there at the time.
A week later, on October 10, authorities received a teletype message about a gunman who allegedly fired shots near Bieber's home and threatened to harm police when they arrived. Officers again found nothing suspicious on the scene. Bieber was also away at the time.
Police said in a statement obtained by OTRC.com on Tuesday that "on December 10, 2012, Hollywood Detectives arrested a juvenile from the Southern California region for the Ashton Kutcher swatting incident, as well as a similar swatting incident that took place at the home of Justin Bieber. Other swatting incidents involving this individual have been identified."
Details about the suspect were not released. Making a phony 911 call is a misdemeanor. It becomes a felony if anyone is injured as a result of it.
The authorities said "swatting" occurs when "computer hackers utilize their skills to place false emergency calls of serious crimes in progress to law enforcement and fire dispatch centers, thus causing a large number of first responders" -- namely members of a SWAT team.
An acquaintance of Kutcher's was at his home when police arrived and notified the actor about the incident. Kutcher later let fans know he was not involved in the hoax, Tweeting, "Safe an sound at two and a half men. Don't miss tomorrow night 8:30."
In August, Miley Cyrus was the target of a 911 prank call, which led to cop cars rushing to her Los Angeles home. The officers reportedly surrounded the home, with guns drawn and found that no one was home and everything was secured. Investigators do not believe the person arrested on December 10 was involved in the incident, the Los Angeles Times reported.