Prank Hostage Situation in Johnsburg Tuesday Evening

A press release from McHenry County Sheriff’s Office:

Sheriff’s Office Investigates “Swatting” Call

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a “Swatting” call that occurred in unincorporated McHenry late Tuesday evening and tied up approximately 15 sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Johnsburg Police Department for more than two hours.

“Swatting” is the act of deceiving emergency services into sending police to another person’s address, based on the false reporting of a serious emergency situation, such as a bomb threat, murder, hostage-taking, or other alleged incident.

Bill Prim

It is a criminal act that can put both responding personnel and innocent civilians in danger.

At 10:19 p.m., deputies responded to a residence in the 2800 block of North Magellan Drive in unincorporated McHenry after being notified by the North East Regional Communications Center (NERCOM) about a possible hostage situation.

While responding to the call, deputies were told that the male caller provided the name of a juvenile and an address.

The caller stated that he was holding three people hostage with a firearm at that address.

The caller demanded a ransom, said he would start shooting people, and then hung up.

Information was obtained that led deputies and police officers from Johnsburg Police Department to a make contact, at a different address, with the juvenile whose name had been provided.

It was determined that he had not made the call to NERCOM.  Deputies were able to make contact with the residents of the house on North Magellan Drive and it was determined that everyone was fine and there was no hostage situation.

“‘Swatting’ is not amusing and can have potentially fatal consequences,” said Sheriff Bill Prim.

“An unarmed man in Wichita, Kansas, was shot and killed during a similar incident late last year.  Meanwhile, while chasing a hoax, officers are unable to answer calls to real emergencies.”

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information should contact the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office at (815) 338-2144, McHenry County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-762-STOP (7867), or the tip line email address; [email protected].

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