Someone called 911 saying that a Delco man had just shot his kids and was holding his wife hostage Wednesday. It wasn't true.
The prank call led 60 emergency responders, including the SWAT team and hostage negotiators to the 100 block of Cascade Road in Springfield, Delaware County, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
They surrounded the area, clearing out a total of six neighboring houses on both sides of the street. While the signs led responders to suspect they had been duped, officers weren’t going to take any chances, according to the Inquirer.
"It was an elaborate hoax," he told the Inquirer. "We responded as if it was the real deal.”
Police tackled and handcuffed a man who came out of the house after a young boy noticed the commotion outside. A woman holding a child also exited the house.
Officers then evacuated and searched family’s home, all while the 911 system was still reporting that violence was still going on inside the house, Springfield Police Chief Joe Daly told the Inquirer.
The false alarm isn’t the first time the police have been tricked by a 911 scam. The hokey 911 calls are known as “swatting” have flipped the switch on emergency services across the country, turning the protectors into the victims.
"We used to know who the bad guys were," said Daley. "Now we are chasing them through cyberspace, and it is very difficult."
Five Dallas swatters were sentenced to five years plus restitution for 911 scams that in over 60 cities across the county from 2002 to 2006, costing over $250,000 for screwing up telecommunications providers and dispatching police forces, reports the Inquirer.