Massachusetts man sentenced for 'swatting' calls to Ventura, Denver, Waverly, NY


"Swatting" is the term for calling law enforcement agencies to report an immediate dangerous crime in progress in order to elicit a substantial police presence, typically in order to harass someone.

Anthol, Mass. resident Nathan Hanshaw, 22, pleaded guilty in federal court to a three-count complaint of making interstate threats, threats to use explosives and threats to use a firearm, the Thousand Oaks Police Department said.

Hanshaw called the Ventura County Sheriff's Department on January 2 to say he was armed with an AK-47 machine gun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and that he wanted a helicopter ride to Mexico or he would detonate a bomb and kill hostages. He also threatened to kill responding law enforcement personnel.

Sheriff's deputies and detectives, along with FBI and Department of Defense agents, and personnel from the Ventura County Fire Department responded to the call, which utilized resources that could have otherwise been used for legitimate calls in the community, Thousand Oaks Police said.

Hanshaw made other swatting calls to Denver, Colorado, and Waverly, New York, emergency services between September 2012 and January, police said.

The FBI led the investigation and Hanshaw was identified as the suspect in the case.

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