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Crime Canada

Canadian Teen Arrested For Calling In 30+ Swattings, Bomb Threats 350

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the stick-to-trolling-the-internet dept.
tsu doh nimh (609154) writes "A 16-year-old male from Ottawa, Canada has been arrested for allegedly making at least 30 fraudulent callsincluding bomb threats and 'swattings' — to emergency services across North America over the past few months. Canadian media isn't identifying the youth because of laws that prevent the disclosure, but the alleged perpetrator was outed in a dox on Pastebin that was picked up by journalist Brian Krebs, who was twice the recipient of attempted swat raids at the hand of this kid. From the story: 'I told this user privately that targeting an investigative reporter maybe wasn't the brightest idea, and that he was likely to wind up in jail soon. But @ProbablyOnion was on a roll: That same day, he hung out his for-hire sign on Twitter, with the following message: "want someone swatted? Tweet me their name, address and I'll make it happen."'"
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Canadian Teen Arrested For Calling In 30+ Swattings, Bomb Threats

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  • good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:08PM (#46985377)

    good

  • by Entropius (188861) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:11PM (#46985405)

    ... the fact that you can do this with a telephone is pretty scary.

    Just recently I saw a massive police overreaction (closing off a block of downtown DC in front of a university hospital, complete with police abusing citizens) just because some student left her backpack lying around. If this is all it takes to provoke this sort of reaction, and if a few phone calls can get someone "swatted", then why the hell does al-Qaeda bother with bombings and flying planes into things? Send over a few sleeper cells with nondescript bags and boxes and watch the panic fly.

    This is pretty damn analogous to an allergic reaction: "ack, a piece of peanut antigen! FETCH ALL THE CYTOKINES, BOYS, THIS MEANS WAR!"

  • Re:Good, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:29PM (#46985513)
    There is no 'but'.

    The next time someone calls with the exact same wording, and they don't respond appropriately.....you'll be calling for their heads to roll.
    Yes, I get that the police have too any toys they need to use. But wtf are they supposed to do? Send Officer Snuffy with a single bullet in his pocket every time?
  • I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arielCo (995647) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:36PM (#46985559)

    At the risk of being modded into the ground, how is this Slashdot material?

  • by rikkards (98006) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:37PM (#46985565) Journal

    Sure but there also these things called pay phones. Not quite as common as they used to be but they are still around

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:54PM (#46985683)

    You do realize that these Swatting are caused by someone with the fake caller ID of the address calling emergency services and claiming there home has been invaded by someone with guns and they are actively killing people and have numerous hostages. Or some other variant where someone with a gun is in the process of killing someone with a bunch lined up and the caller is either a hidden victim or the person doing the active killing. There is usually included a statement that the cops need to hurry and that any attempt at contact will result in the "killer" immediately killing multiple people.

    The scenario presented doesn't give police many options. Though I don't like SWAT teams nor the militarization of the police, but reacting to these scenarios as if it was a prank is only going to result in a real scenario going bad in a way that results in multiple people being killed and everyone laying blame on the cops for not taking it seriously.

    Maybe you should read the transcript of these SWAT'ings and lay out what procedure you would have put in place to determine that it was a prank and not the real thing and prove how smart you are. Keep in mind that in some jurisdictions there may be laws on the books that require this type of response.

  • by melchoir55 (218842) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:10PM (#46985787)

    The reason terrorists don't bother with stuff like this:

    There aren't any.

  • bleh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:10PM (#46985789)

    On one hand, glad the little fucker got caught. on the other, also glad he was Canadian. Had he been in the US, he'd probably get a life sentence.

    16 year old kids do really incredibly dumb anti social stuff, problems arise with something as easy to pull off as this -- and the supposed anonymity of the internet. How many of you remember winnuke (circa 1996)? Nowadays nuking someone would have been met with a knock on the door, and being hauled away in cuffs.

    (NOT defending swatting. more criticizing penalties for teenagers in the US. At 16 you're a moron -- you have some inkling of the consequences but you don't really *get* it.)

  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:29PM (#46985925)

    ... the fact that you can do this with a telephone is pretty scary.

    Just recently I saw a massive police overreaction (closing off a block of downtown DC in front of a university hospital, complete with police abusing citizens) just because some student left her backpack lying around. If this is all it takes to provoke this sort of reaction, and if a few phone calls can get someone "swatted", then why the hell does al-Qaeda bother with bombings and flying planes into things? Send over a few sleeper cells with nondescript bags and boxes and watch the panic fly.

    If the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, the terrorists have won.

  • Re:bleh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:38PM (#46985997)

    I've never met a 16 year old that didn't understand what they were doing. On the other hand I've met plenty that didn't care. Not even 100 years ago 16 years old was an adult in many places able to exercise contracts, get married and work full time. My grandparents married at 17/16. I don't ascribe to the view that 16 years old is incapable of understanding their actions, that ability develops as early as 5 years old. I do ascribe to the view that our society and most western societies don't hold those 16 year old's to that level and that results in kids like this doing these horrible things.

    I also don't think he should face quite the same penalties as an older individual but it's foolish to suggest they don't understand the consequences. Most 16 year olds fully understand, in fact they understand so well that they fully grasp that society will not punish them as harshly because of their age and willfully engage in actions like this because they know there is no long term consequence for their action.

    That said he should spend the next two years of his life in a juvenile correctional institution receiving the counseling, assistance and parenting he clearly needs. Afterwards his record should be sealed and he should be told that should he commit these actions again he will end up in real prison.

  • Re:bleh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:41PM (#46986015)

    I don't know, I think for something like swatting more than ten or so people deserve the full adult felony treatment - because in that case they are an irredeemable asshole and I'd rather them be vanished than spend time figuring out if they are useful to society or not.

    I did some dumb things too as a kid, but not 30 times over...

  • Re:bleh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:48PM (#46986063) Homepage

    At 16 you're a moron -- you have some inkling of the consequences but you don't really *get* it.)

    Only in the US, where we try to extend "innocence" as long as possible. In a lot of cultures 16 year old are working and starting families. I'm not saying that's the preferred path, just that a 16 year old SHOULD be able to make adult decisions. The fact that they can't means that society is not raising them correctly.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:50PM (#46986073) Homepage

    There is a win, risk analysis based upon reality. Initial police response to confirm is only minutes away, delaying everything whilst waiting for swat is tens of minutes. Unless of course the police force has been right wing screwed up and turned into for profit law enforcement, where police are far away chasing traffic fines and some trigger happy freak is all to eager to send and the swat team and kill some people, anyone.

    There is huge risk in sending out the swat team, this has been proven time and time again, by far the safer and quicker response is by a properly managed police force and confirmation being sought by 'actively' patrolling police officers. No public call should ever, I repeat ever, activate the swat team, only a request by a senior officer on site should bring the dogs out.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday May 12, 2014 @09:18PM (#46986257) Homepage Journal

    For the last generation, "Serve and Protect" has become "Cover your ass" and "Everyone is a perp."

    But that's exactly the problem - everybody *is* a perp. We have so many laws and every goddamn things has been criminalized, either by statute or regulation, that we'll all felons [amazon.com] now - it's just a matter of who is having the laws enforced against them.

    Disabled man shot up for having a seizure? That's OK, he was a perp anyway.

  • Re: good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @10:03PM (#46986503)

    No, 16, can make own decisions according to law? No. Not adult. Best keep it that way.

  • Re:Good, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j-beda (85386) on Monday May 12, 2014 @10:11PM (#46986545) Homepage

    the one time you don't react, someone will die and there will be a huge investigation and people being fired with no pension benefits

    No one is saying "don't react", they are saying "react appropriately". You put together a well thought out response plan BEFORE the event, then follow it. Such a response plan should not call for busting down the doors with guns blazing on the strength of a single anonymous phone call. Not following the plan is what should result in disciplinary actions.

  • Re:bleh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dryeo (100693) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @12:03AM (#46987027)

    Don't have the feudal idea of felons in Canada. In a case like this the Crown might ask for the 16yr old to be tried as an adult and the Judge might agree. Then there is a trial and sentencing rather then the threat of life in jail if the youth doesn't plead guilty. If tried as a juvenile, the maximum is 2 years, which is a good chunk of a 16yr olds life. No idea what the maximum sentence would be if tried as an adult but the Judge would probably still take into consideration his age and history.

  • Re:good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @12:04AM (#46987033) Homepage Journal

    I was thinking more along the lines of execution. Someone this stupid needs to be removed from the gene pool. And at 16 there's still a chance.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  • Re:bleh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by N1AK (864906) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @05:10AM (#46987837) Homepage

    Personally I wish he was in Singapore. This is the kind of thing where corporal punishment would seem appropriate.

    In many ways corporal punishment (outside the death penalty and crazy eye for an eye nonsense) would often be cheaper and better for the victim as well. This kid, even if tried a sa child could get 2 years in prison. His education will be stuffed, it'll cost a fortune for tax payers and his career prospects are dead and buried. I struggle to see how a month in a hard labour camp with a couple of harsh beatings/lashings is less humane.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @05:45AM (#46987927) Homepage Journal

    why he needs to be tried on trial as an adult when he is not an adult? he got to vote and buy booze yet? no, then why treat him as an adult - to scare others who by law and common reason aren't yet intelligent enough to be scared by such laws anyways??

    anyhow, HOW FUCKING EASY WAS IT TO ORDER A SWAT HIT ? ? they did any fact checking before bursting in? any investigations? did they even fucking change their routines to prevent people from ordering swat hits on random places at will??? like what the fuck, easier to order a bunch of guys to come over with loaded guns than to order pizza?

  • Re:good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by something_wicked_thi (918168) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @06:01AM (#46987961)

    As long as you've found someone to hate. That's what's truly important. Might want to be a little careful with that "mindless" adjective, though.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @07:59AM (#46988481) Homepage

    If someone calls that there's a hostage situation a long way from the address of payphone (like few states away), one patrol should be enough to assess the situation on-site.

    Yeah, but look at it from the standpoint of the guy who runs the police department.

    If he sends one cop into a hostage situation, the cop gets shot up, and probably the hostages get shot up. The police chief gets the blame for not taking the call seriously.

    If he sends a swat team into a hostage situation he made the right call, and unless he actually runs the swat team he's off the hook for anything that happens afterwards. If there isn't a hostage situation you blame the crank caller for whatever happens, and besides he just followed procedure. Too bad for the poor old guy who gets shot in bed.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @08:06AM (#46988555) Homepage

    Initial police response to confirm is only minutes away, delaying everything whilst waiting for swat is tens of minutes.

    This is a nice idea, but what happens to that lone officer checking up if this is a real hostage situation with well armed felons? He is put in a life or death situation where he may end up as another hostage.

    Perhaps more importantly even if the cop is careful his nosing around could tip off the hostage-takers, resulting in harm to the hostages. Ideally in a real hostage situation you want the first sign of a swat raid to be the big holes in all the exterior walls.

    The problem is that SWAT response usually results in substantial damage to property and risk to the occupants of the house if there isn't anything going on. Pets get killed, doors and windows get smashed, and people sometimes even get shot. Then if the crank call was a drug tip or something like that then everything in the house gets torn apart in the search.

    At the very least the taxpayers should be paying restitution for false alarms. By all means they can go after the crank caller to recover those costs. However, by putting the cost on the government and not on the victim of a swatting there is incentive to improve the system, and to deter this kind of prank.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @08:18AM (#46988641)

    "Help! There's a gunman as Sandy Hook Elementary!"

    "Sounds, unlikely. I've been on the force here for 50 years and nothing like that has ever happened here. I guess we'll send an officer by next time someone's in the area."

    ColdSam for president!

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @08:33AM (#46988757) Homepage Journal

    The odds of someone being shot or killed or dying of a heart attack when the SWAT team pounds down their door are about 2-4%. The odds of someone being shot or killed or dying of a heart attack when the police don't SWAT their door is much lower. Therefore, SWATting someone is equivalent to a 2-4% attempt of a murder.

    At the minimum, that could be prosecuted as a felonious assault with intent to cause grievous bodily injury. Since some of the people who die in SWAT raids are occasionally the cops, this could even be considered an assault on a police officer.

    A good prosecutor could stuff this little turd in a very dark cell for a couple of decades, and the world would be much better off as a result.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kilfarsnar (561956) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @09:03AM (#46989001)

    anyhow, HOW FUCKING EASY WAS IT TO ORDER A SWAT HIT ? ? they did any fact checking before bursting in? any investigations? did they even fucking change their routines to prevent people from ordering swat hits on random places at will??? like what the fuck, easier to order a bunch of guys to come over with loaded guns than to order pizza?

    The militarization of police forces is making criminals of us all. Think you have the right to be secure in your home? Think again.

    http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/overkill-rise-paramilitary-police-raids-america

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2014/02/04/scenes-from-a-militarized-america-iowa-family-terrorized/

    http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21599349-americas-police-have-become-too-militarised-cops-or-soldiers

    They shoot first (only your dog if you're lucky) and ask questions maybe later, maybe. As Chief Wiggum told us years ago, the police are powerless to help you, not punish you.

  • by DutchUncle (826473) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @09:16AM (#46989113)
    Spoofing is not necessarily bad, and mail servers are supposed to forward anonymously. I worked in phone systems. It is clearly acceptable to spoof to an alternate line that you own; for example, every phone can have its own DID number, but the caller ID is spoofed to the published/advertised "receptionist" number. Next level out: a contract house doing phone service may be spoofing the receptionist number of the company they are working for rather than their own number; it's fake, but it's not fraud, more like a consultant representing himself as working "for" (rather than "on behalf of") a client. It's a slippery slope.
  • Re:good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @09:23AM (#46989173) Journal

    Part of the calculus running through a youth's mind is that this "youthful indescretion" will be lightly punished.

    Let's reward that attitude and prove it right. That'll stop copycats.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @09:24AM (#46989177) Homepage

    So the solution is for the police to react calmly, professionally using their presumably expert knowledge with a little bit of common sense. They should be able to suss out these swattings and act appropriately in the vast majority of cases.

    Why "should" they be able to suss out these swattings? What symptoms are the police missing that differentiates a swatting from a real incident? I.E. the same questions the grandparent asked, but that you airily handwaved away.

    Unless you can answer them, you're blaming the cops based on a belief you've pulled out of your ass rather than anything resembling reality.

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