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LAPD to withhold info on future celebrity swatting cases

Authorities are seen in this undated image during a swatting incident at a celebrity's home in Los Angeles.

April 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles police said Thursday they will no longer comment or issue news releases on any future swatting cases targeting the homes of celebrities.

Media outlets will instead be required to file formal public records requests to get information.

The announcement comes a day after cops were called to the Hollywood Hills home of Ryan Seacrest. The 911 call targeting the entertainment personality turned out to be bogus but follows a wave of recent swatting pranks aimed at several high-profile celebrities including Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.

According to police, the phone calls cost taxpayers thousands of dollars and also take officers away from their usual patrols.

Swatting cases are also frightening for entire neighborhoods when dozens of armed officers suddenly descend into their communities.

The LAPD's move is intended to crack down on these hoaxes and deny the publicity that motivates the prank callers.

"It is our departments belief that the perpetrators of these false police reports are motivated entirely by the media recognition these calls received," said Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

By no longer publicizing the bogus calls, police hope media attention regarding the swatting incidents will decrease and thus deter pranksters from making them in the first place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.