Police seek prankster

A terrified resident, a neighborhood on alert and a four-car crash involving a police car — all because of a prank.
WZZM-TV
Apr 22, 2014

Zeeland Police said they were "swatted" last week when someone called in a bogus break-in, saying two masked men were in a house on Huizenga Avenue. The caller said they'd heard shots and screams.

More than a dozen police officers from three departments rushed to the house, only to find out it was a hoax.

On the way to the April 15 emergency call, a sergeant with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department was involved in a crash at the intersection of Lakewood Boulevard and 120th Avenue in Holland Township. His car hit a vehicle in the intersection, which then hit two other cars.

The owner of the home told police that he didn't have any idea what was going on until he was informed of the call. Police said there is no indication the homeowner was involved in the prank.

"It might seem harmless and funny to the prankster, but they are putting a lot of people at risk, absolutely," Zeeland Police Chief Bill Olney said. "The response by the patrol officers in their vehicles, the response by the officers once they get there, the danger that's created on highways and to the neighbors in the immediate area."

Because the prankster called the police station and not 911, Olney said they don't have a recording of the call. Detectives are working with phone companies to identify the suspect. They do know he's male.

If they catch him, Olney said the man could face felony charges and jail time.

Comments

Ole

You're kidding me . . right? The ZPD doesn't have caller ID and a procedure to record the source of the incoming call whether it's a blocked, private or listed #??

rukidding

They aren't kidding you; Zeeland, need they say more?

newspaperlawyer

The call went thru OC 911 system and not Zeeland Police. The call was made from a Sykpe internet phone service.

rukidding

It states right in the article that they DID NOT call 911 but rather the police station; read much?

Because the prankster called the police station and not 911, Olney said they don't have a recording of the call. Detectives are working with phone companies to identify the suspect. They do know he's male.

Olney is with Zeeland PD, they got the call!

newspaperlawyer

Maybe you should of watched the news release last week when they interviewed the 911 director. He advised the public how the call was received into their center. They were in the process of working with the feds on helping out.

happycamper

yep, i got a Skype call sat morning, i picked to answer and they hung up, tried to trace the call, all it said was a Skype call with a number, anyone can makeup a phone number and use it, my son in fact did the same thing to me using that system, he was just pulling my leg of course, they call dont go thru the phone system, they are internet based

Tri-cities realist

Was the officer who caused a 4 car crash reprimanded? Just because he was on his way to a call (bogus or not) the officer is responsible for driving safely, and certainly isn't supposed to cause an accident.

Tri-cities realist

I'm sure the location of the house on Huizenga Avenue was a coincidence. Or perhaps police should consider looking at area political activists. My money is on a Koch brothers financed tea party activist :-S

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