Local police revealed on Friday that a 13-year-old Minecraft fan in Southern California had confessed to being responsible for three separate swattings, or pranks that involve calling law enforcement with fake threats such a bomb or family held hostage, with a goal of getting a SWAT to team to storm into someone’s home. The young boy’s name hasn’t been revealed due to his age, and officers say he was released to the custody of his parents.
A detective from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said in an interview with ArsTechnica that among the incidents the boy was responsible for included a hostage call in his home city of Camarillo. The threat was that there were 10 people inside a house, and if the hostage taker didn’t receive $30,000 in cash, they would be blown up. As a result of the call, the house was surrounded by specialized agents.
All three of the 13-year-old’s swatting pranks took place in January, with one targeting another Minecraft player in Ocean City, New Jersey, and the other also taking place in Ventura County, California. The two victims in the incidents near where the boy lived were said to be a classmate and a teacher.
Police say they tracked the teen down through his VOIP calls to New Jersey, where the IP address lead them to his home. After they found software on a computer he used that was designed to hide the origin of phone calls, he confessed to incidents, saying that he “felt he was wronged.” While the boy is now in the custody of his parents, he is to attend a juvenile court hearing next month, where it is expected he will be punished with some form of probation.