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Crime United States

Swatting 19-Year-Old Arrested in Las Vegas 327

Ars Technica reports that a Las Vegas teenager is in custody for multiple instances of swatting: Brandon Wilson, who goes by the online handle "Famed God," was arrested Thursday in Nevada and faces an extradition hearing to determine whether he should be sent to face hacking and other charges. Illinois prosecutors said there was evidence on his computers about the July 10 swatting incident, in which he allegedly reported a murder to Naperville's emergency 911 line. The SWAT team responded, but the call was a hoax. The Chicago-Sun Times said that, in addition to the Naperville incident, the suspect's computers held evidence "of similar incidents across the country."
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Swatting 19-Year-Old Arrested in Las Vegas

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  • news ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2015 @06:08PM (#49007597)

    Err. That's good, right ? Police arresting bad people ?
    Not sure why this is news.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @06:08PM (#49007599)

    He gets caught and will stand trial. Isn't this how the system is supposed to work? What's the problem here?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wish the same standards are followed when people report "someone suspicious" [one person holding a toy gun inside a Walmart was killed by police because someone called in; a small kid playing with a toy gun was killed by police because someone call in and also mentioned that it was 'likely a small kid with a toy gun']. It is scary to imagine how much social engineering is possible to get others into trouble.

      I wonder how things go if in future there is some "meta-swatting" involved? Someone hacks one perso

      • I wish the same standards are followed when people report "someone suspicious

        It is all about intent. Swatting is intended to cause someone else problems. Reporting "suspicious activity" is intended to protect people. It does not always work out that way but the intent is there.

        Someone hacks one person's computer to hack into other computers, and the police aren't tech savvy... Or someone uses an impressionable kid to work as a mule.

        I realize the you have a very low opinion of police but most police departments do have tech resources and will investigate to find the actual source of the issue. Any kid impressionable enough to mule for someone else would also be impressionable enough to tell police who put them up to it.

        I also have to ment

        • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

          I'm glad I live in semi-rural Australia, and know all the local cops if not by name, then at least on waving and nodding terms.

          On the rare occasion I get pulled over, I say "gidday" and wait for him to say what's on his mind. If it's a random breath test, I follow instructions, and then I'm on my way. If I've been speeding, I 'fess up, and say "You got me, mate, I wasn't paying attention" - that once got me out of a '30km/h over the limit' ticket and fine with a warning. And our cops are armed with pistols

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      What's the problem here?

      Who said there's a problem? Why does there have to be one for something to make the news?

    • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @06:31PM (#49007711)

      He gets caught and will stand trial. Isn't this how the system is supposed to work? What's the problem here?

      Exactly, they busted somebody who deserved to be prosecuted. The problem here that when we read a headline (before reading the details) about law enforcement busting somebody, our default reaction is no longer, "good, they busted the bad guy," but rather, "there goes law enforcement abusing their power again, they probably didn't have a warrant and the guy is probably innocent."

      That says something about the state of nation.

    • by Roger Wilcox ( 776904 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @06:55PM (#49007803)
      The problem is that SWAT is prevalent enough that punks like the guy in the article can even pull this kind of prank. SWAT came into prominence in the 1970s, with ~500 SWAT deployments per year. Today, there are more than 50,000 SWAT deployments each year (that's more that 150 deployments every day) and mostly, they are used to round up non-violent people engaging in consensual crimes. There is no justification for using paramilitary police action on non-violent petty crime. It is ridiculous: picture an 8-man armored squad busting in on a teenager smoking weed in his parent's basement. There have been dozens of tragic incidents in which innocents have lost their lives due to this excessive use of force. I don't have a solution to this. Politicians appear to consider the issue a career-danger to themselves to address; seemingly nobody is moving anywhere fast to rectify this trend. However, it has clearly become a problem.
      • by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @01:49AM (#49009291) Homepage Journal

        as an example: http://wap.alternet.org/civil-... [alternet.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Around my parts, they deployed the SWAT team because some drunk guy skipped out on a $50 taxi fare. *sigh* People argue it was justified because he later had a pellet gun, but they tend to forget that the pellet gun came to light after the SWAT team had been deployed. The end result of it was two police officers got shot...by other police officers. They originally claimed the guy that skipped out on the cab fare shot the officers, until they couldn't find any firearms in the area except their own and an

  • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @06:12PM (#49007615) Homepage Journal

    Filing a false police report is criminal in and of itself, even if it doesn't result in an expensive, resource-wasting, and potentially injurious or deadly response from the police.

    Do it once, maybe you get away with it. Keep doing it, and you can [i]expect[/i] to get caught.

    • Do it once, the police keep a recording of the call. When they arrest anyone, take a voice recording of them and run it against all the recordings you have.

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @07:59PM (#49008109) Homepage Journal
      I find that some kids are just well protected. They never have to really deal with the consequences of their actions. We have seen some high profile cases where a kid gets to college, do some stupid thing, hacking, drinking, sex, and because they have never had to deal with consequences they fall apart, even commit suicide. In this case, who knows what other trouble he has caused and how he has been protected from consequences.

      It is unfortunate the the law has to be called in because the kid did not have the guidance or the sense to stop anti social actions on his own.

      • That is the failure of the education system. And unfortunately in this country, unlike bankruptcies on your credit report, felonies on your rap sheet stays forever, which means you will stay unemployed (and remain underclass and poor) forever, no matter your talent. That way, it ensures recidivism rate stays high, keeping those for-profit prisons at capacity.

        Aaron Swartz knows this when he got hit with a overzealous prosecutor. That is why he choose suicide.

  • Longer sentences (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2015 @06:29PM (#49007701)

    Up to 5 years? That's it?

    • Up to 5 years? That's it?

      That depends on how many incidents can be traced back to him and in how many states --- each one of which may decide to press their own charges.

  • by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @06:31PM (#49007707)
    The linked article uses the words "prank" and "prankster" multiple times. This is not ordering someone else a pizza; this is ordering someone else a large group of hair-trigger people carrying deadly weapons and expecting violence. People like this should be restrained or executed, not so much for what they have done, as for being the sort of people who would do it.
    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      Restrained or executed is a bit much. Forced labor at a SWAT building as janitor for 10 years though? That might work. He's not violent, he's stupid. Let him bask in his stupidity.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        He's not violent

        He is, by proxy.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

        He's not violent,

        He tried to get someone killed for lols. How is that "non violent"?

    • Restrained, yes, executed, no. Five years in prison was mentioned in the article. I think that sounds just about right. Oh, and no more online access for him for some period of time after release as part of his probation. Internet access can obviously be every bit as much a weapon as a firearm, and he's probably going to go right back and make trouble if he's allowed, unfortunately.

      I agree that in the article, they should talk about "perpetrators" or "culprits", not "pranksters". None of my pranks ever

      • Here's a question: Why are police not calling back the houses in question to ascertain if there's actually an incident occurring? I'd think this would be standard procedure by now, with all the swatting that's happened.

        1. Said 'pranksters' generally phrase things in such a way that the police and 911 operator are afraid that calling back will get somebody killed. Reminds me of a preview I saw where a girl's hiding under something while the serial killer is looking for her, she's on 911 with the operator when signal is lost. The operator hits callback, and the phone ringing points the killer straight to the girl, and he kills her while thanking the 911 operator for helping him locate her.
        2. They also make it sound like

        • Well, for #1 and #2, I think the police are going to have to learn how to sniff these situations out through additional training or procedures. At this point, I think we're probably putting people MORE at risk by not trying to contact the people at these residences before busting in with a SWAT team. We probably have to ask ourselves - what are the odds of a false alarm versus an actual situation like you described, which are probably more likely to occur in a Hollywood script than in real life?

          If it's a

          • #3 sounds like a technical failing that needs to be addressed to make spoofing more difficult.

            Making spoofing more difficult would also make it easier to block everyone else engaged in phone fraud.

            Which is why it is never going to happen.

    • by BigFire ( 13822 )

      I don't consider it a prank. I consider an attempt murder and they need to be charge as such.

      • This exactly. Given the assumption that the person is intentionally making a false report to the police, it should be attempted murder if noone dies, and if someone dies die it should be *premeditated* murder and prosecuted as such.
        • This exactly. Given the assumption that the person is intentionally making a false report to the police, it should be attempted murder if noone dies, and if someone dies die it should be *premeditated* murder and prosecuted as such.

          Yep. There is actually room for this in the case law, too - use of another as an "instrument" in committing murder. Painting a target on someone and shoving them in front of the cops certainly counts.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by arth1 ( 260657 )

      The linked article uses the words "prank" and "prankster" multiple times. This is not ordering someone else a pizza; this is ordering someone else a large group of hair-trigger people carrying deadly weapons and expecting violence. People like this should be restrained or executed, not so much for what they have done, as for being the sort of people who would do it.

      By "people like this", I hope you mean the adrenaline crazed goons who slime their pants kicking in doors looking for someone to shoot.

    • More importantly (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      is the question of why its so easy to get a large group of hair-triggered people carrying deadly weapons to violently storm someones house over nothing more than a single anonymous phone call.

      Really? Thats all it takes??? some teenager with a cellphone & your address?

      I think we need to do something about that.

    • Yes the swat teams should be restrained or executed but what to do with the kid? Swatting happens because of police abuse, slap the kid on the wrist for filing a false report or whatever. Make police be civil again the war on drugs has turned them into thugs.

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @08:38PM (#49008261)

    Ars Technica reports that a Las Vegas teenager is in custody for multiple instances of swatting.

    ... but to me a nineteen year old is not a "teenager."

    • Oh come on, Westlake probably meant that by describing the accused as a teenager you label him in a way to inspire thoughts of childhood vs adults.

      Yes technically 19 is a "teen" age, but anyone accused of crimes that is older than 18 should be described as an adult. I would maybe extend the reasonability of extending the Teenager label to somebody still in high school even if 18 by calendar timing.
  • Top Kek (Score:2, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

    Judging by the looks of him, I'll bet anything Brandon Wilson is really concerned about ethics in game journalism.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com]

    • I know, right? He "looks" like the sort of guy who uses his "autistic spectrum disorder" as an excuse when called on being a jerk, shouts homophobic epithets on Xbox Live and who is an example of the Internet Fuckwad Theory.

      Personally I think the neckbeard appearance is how guys like him show conformity with their community. He probably wears some kind of fedora, or cape, or something. In 30 years time he'll look like Alan Cox, or RMS, probably.

      Wasn't there some "Famedgod" a member of Anonymous who claim

  • And I'm good at it. Usually flies.

  • by OneSmartFellow ( 716217 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @06:39AM (#49009815)
    ...who had no idea what "swatting" meant, until reading the linked article.

    Since when do we use unknown/uncommon words in headlines ?
  • by gatkinso ( 15975 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @11:05AM (#49010473)

    That would make it all the more sweet.

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