New Jersey swatting victims tricked into escalating situation

Swatting is a "prank" that involves calling in a threat or something of that nature to a local police department, with the goal being to get SWAT teams and law enforcement deployed. Such a prank happened recently in New Jersey, but on a larger scale than we typically see, and with a plot twist: the prankster called the unwitting victims and tricked them into escalating the situation. Fortunately they realized that something was wrong before doing anything drastic and that lead to the situation being resolved without anyone getting harmed.

The victim in this case was the Digital Press Video Games store in Clifton, New Jersey, which currently had about 40 people inside as part of a North Atlantic Videogame Aficionados meeting that took place monthly. The local Sheriff's office was called by the prankster and told that people in the store were being held hostage by men with shotguns, and that some people were injured.

This caused law enforcement to set up outside of the shop while the shoppers inside were left wondering what was happening, thinking there was an incident elsewhere. Those inside moved elsewhere in the building for safety reasons, assuming an armed conflict might be possible, and about an hour later the police started approaching the store. According to Digital Press's web admin Frankie Viturella, it was also around that time the store got a call from someone claiming to be part of the local Fire Department.

This person told the worker who answered the phone to close the shop's front blinds, which they did. The prankster then made the bizarre command for the worker to go outside and yell for the law enforcement to get back because someone had a gun. The store's owner elected to hang up on the caller at that point and call the police directly, where both sides of the situation were filled in on the prank and the situation was resolved shortly after.

SOURCE: Kotaku, CBS New York