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New Philadelphia hoax call could lead to felony charge for prankster

| June 24, 2024

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 24, 2024) – Police had to deal with a swatting call over the weekend.

Swatting is when somebody makes a false report of a violent crime that would require a large law enforcement response to a particular address. In this case, around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, someone called Dover police claiming to be a New Philadelphia teen who had just shot their parents and had access to several guns in a Tuscarawas Avenue house.

New Philadelphia Police Chief Tessa Pohovey says she can’t say too much about the response or the pending investigation.

“Obviously, it’s something that we take very seriously,” she said. “One, we have to determine what it is first, which can require, depending on what is reported, a great deal of personnel… If something else is going on in the city at the same time, they’re tied up on that, just to find out it’s nothing.”

She says the officers who responded eventually determined the call was a hoax without anybody getting hurt. That isn’t always the case. Police and swatting victims have been shot as a result of swatting calls across the country.

“It could just lead to another of bad outcomes in addition to all the resources that it ties up,” Pohovey said.

Early last year, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill making swatting a fourth-degree felony punishable by six to 18 months in prison. The Ohio law also states a person found guilty of swatting can be forced to reimburse law enforcement agencies for the cost of their response.

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