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Hoax draws dozens of police to fake standoff

January 15, 2014

WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Between 20 and 30 police officers reportedly surrounded a home in Dyberry Township near Honesdale on Friday night after an anonymous call reporting a violent incident at a home on Watts Hill Road, possibily involving a hostage situation. The tip turned out to be a hoax, something law enforcement officers refer to as “swatting,” in which emergency officers respond to a prank 911 call.

In a television interview, homeowner Doug Stinnard said he heard the telephone ring a couple of times during the night, but he didn’t get up to answer it. Unbeknownst to him, the calls were from the police, asking him to pick up the phone.

Next thing Stinnard knew, “my house lights up,” he reported. “I said, ‘oh, my friends are playing a joke on me.’” Then, he heard someone banging down his door. For a moment he thought about getting a gun, he said, but he’s really glad he didn’t.

“It’s sad, and kind of a joke to everybody right now,” Stinnard commented, “but somebody could have gotten killed. Including myself.”

Pennsylvania State Police continue their investigation of the incident.