LAPD Frustrated as More Celebs Targeted by 'Swatting'

The dangerous prank sends SWAT units to celeb homes.

ByABC News
April 6, 2013, 10:05 AM

April 6, 2013— -- It's the VIP list that no celebrity wants to be on, but the number of stars who have been subject to the "swatting" hoax is growing longer.

The prank relies on dramatic fake 911 calls, which trigger the dispatch of a number of police officers or a SWAT team to a celebrity's home. But when the police arrive, they find no crime being committed.

Over the last week, the homes of Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez and Rihanna were all targets of "swatting" hoaxes.

While there have been more than 400 "swatting" calls nationwide, the prank has been mainly associated with celebrity homes. When Timberlake's home was targeted, a tour guide on a passing Hollywood tour bus had to explain to the passengers why police were present.

The hoaxes have become a nightmare for the Los Angeles Police Department, which has had difficulty tracking down the callers. Unable to tell which calls are real and which are hoaxes, officers have to respond as if each call is a real threat.

"We are responding with the mindset of possibly encountering a subject or suspects with a weapon or multiple weapons," LAPD spokeswoman Officer Sara Faden said.

Last year a 12-year-old was arrested for placing a hoax 911 call that sent a SWAT team to the home of Ashton Kutcher.

The staff in Kutcher's home was detained at gunpoint before the police determined the call had been a hoax.