What was supposed to be a hoax, could lead to criminal charges in Newark, New Jersey after police and trained SWAT teams responded. According to New Jersey investigators, someone called the emergency hotline and reported that a hostage was being held at a home approximately 15 miles outside of the city.
The unknown male caller told authorities that he was armed and was holding two people hostage, including an internet safety expert who has made herself a public figure by recently appearing on Good Morning America.
When police and several SWAT units responded to the scene, they did not see any activity around the home. The police waited three hours before shooting tear gas into the home and swarming the residence. The only hostage being held in the house was the owner’s cat.
The FBI has teamed up with several state and federal agencies in an attempt to trace the source of the call and find the person who was on the other end of the telephone line. Although no one was harmed as a result of the prank call and no serious damage was done, the caller could still face criminal charges like filing a false police report. If the caller’s identity is determined, he could face possible criminal charges for the hoax resulting in fines or even jail time.
Sometimes what we may intend to be a prank or a hoax, a bit of amusement for ourselves could have consequences that we did not intend. If you find yourself in a sticky situation, you can share your story with a criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and help you determine what your next step should be.
Source: CBS News, “Cyber expert Parry Aftab’s N.J. home targeted in hostage hoax,” Casey Glynn, 26 July 2011