DYBERRY TOWSHIP – A possible case of something called swatting caused all kinds of commotion in Wayne County and left a man thankful to be okay.
First, a quick definition of swatting: causing emergency response based on a prank call to 9-1-1.
The term comes from the acronym SWAT which stands for special weapons and tactics.
Several celebrities have recently become the victims of swatting.
This past Friday, a man near Honesdale also became a victim with all too-real results.
It was a typical Friday night for Doug Stinnard until heavily armed police swarmed his home near Honesdale.
Troopers were acting on a report that something had gone horribly wrong at Stinnard’s home, but it didn’t take long to find out they were duped and Stinnard was not a suspect but a victim.
Doug Stinnard’s home is off the beaten path on Watts Hill Road near Honesdale and he was the only one home late Friday until everything changed.
“Come home and went to bed. Middle of the night, phone rang a couple of times of course I don’t answer it,” he said.
“Hello Doug, will you pick up the phone please?”
That was state police leaving a voicemail for Stinnard. Troopers got a report there was a violent crime taking place at his home, something like a hostage situation. So they swarmed the property.
“Middle of the night my house lights up, I said oh my friends are playing a joke on me.”
Whoever called in the report was no friend and pretty soon, Stinnard had troopers from as far away as the Dunmore barracks banging down his door. He thought about getting a gun but is glad he didn’t.
“It’s sad, and kind of a joke to everybody right now, but somebody could have got killed. Including myself,” he said.
Another message was on Stinnard’s phone that night; rap music repeating the word “swatting.”
He’s convinced someone used internet software to fool the Wayne County 911 Center as well as police and create that frightening situation Friday night.
“I can’t imagine what it costs to send all those people up here, shut roads down, snipers, everything else, they had quite a crowd.”
Stinnard said there had to be between 20 and 30 police at his place Friday.
It didn’t take long for him and troopers to figure out it was a hoax.
Now state police are trying to find out who would go to such great lengths and why this possible case of swatting even took place.