Innocent Grosse Pointe family victim of 'Swatting'
A quiet July morning in Grosse Pointe was disrupted by tanks and tactical teams on Thursday all for nothing; police say it was a hoax and this isn't the first time it happened this week.
Grosse Pointe police got the call Thursday morning from a man who claimed he had killed his girlfriend. The officers loaded up and surrounded the home. They believed they were in the middle of a standoff situation with a barricaded man.
Inside that home, Paul Chesney and his wife were preparing to feed their one-year-old breakfast when all of a sudden, police and SWAT members were surrounding their home. The 911 caller claimed Paul had killed his girlfriend and he had barricaded himself inside.
"So I open the door to see what's going on and the next thing I know I hear 'put your hands in the air'. I'm like me? I didn't understand...why?," Paul said. "I couldn't believe that I couldn't believe that was happening
Police cuffed Paul and his wife and led them away in handcuffs. They didn't even know what it was all about until police finished questioning them both. Then, they finally released the Chesneys.
"I'm just sitting there waiting in this holding cell no idea what's going on. I kept going over why is this happening??," Chesney said.
Then he finally learned that someone had committed a very serious prank: using their IP address to falsely report an emergency from the home. It's called swatting and it's more common than you think. On Wednesday in Keego Harbor, someone called police and said a man had killed his wife and three children and was barricading himself inside.
Rick Vestuto was at work when a neighbor called him.
"I got a phone call from my neighbor who said you need to get home right now, your wife is being dragged out of the house at gun point by police," Vestuto said.
He rushed home to find four police agencies had converged on his neighborhood after someone used his IP address to call 911. Just like in Grosse Pointe, it was all a hoax.
"I don't get why it's fun. 911 is implemented for emergency purposes only. This is a waste of tax payer dollars, it's hurting my wife and I. If that's what they set out to do they accomplished it.," Vestuto said.
Both Rick and Paul have no idea who would target them or why. Police are investigating but it's not clear if the cases are connected.
Swatting is punishable by a 93 day misdemeanor jail sentence. But if someone is injured or killed in the process they could face up to 20 years in prison.