FILE – In this Nov. 18, 2012 file photo, Justin Bieber performs at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards, in Los Angeles. Los Angeles police announced Tuesday Dec. 18, 2012 that they have arrested an unidentified juvenile for sending hoax messages that led to large police responses to the homes [auth] of Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police have arrested a juvenile they say is responsible for making prank calls that reported violence at the homes of Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher and led officers to respond in force to the stars’ homes.
The Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday refused to provide any details about the suspect, who was arrested Dec. 10 and is no longer in custody. Prosecutors were reviewing a possible case against the person, who police say may be responsible for multiple hoax calls intended to provoke large police responses.
The practice has been dubbed “swatting” because the calls are intended to get multiple officers, including specialized SWAT teams, sent to a home.
“The swatting practice is extremely dangerous and places first responders and citizens in harm’s way,” police said in a news release.
Police said the person reported multiple people had been shot at Kutcher’s home on Oct.3 and reported shots fired at Bieber’s home a week later. The celebrities were not home at the time, and officers determined that no one was injured.
The fake distress calls were made through an electronic system.
In a news release, police said multiple agencies including the FBI and Long Beach Police Department were involved in the investigation. Long Beach detectives who investigate cybercrimes were consulted and the agency was not involved in the arrest. Police would only say the juvenile lives in the Southern California area.
The person is suspected of being involved in other “swatting” incidents, but police did not say whether they involved celebrities. Similar hoax calls have been made involving the homes of Miley Cyrus and Simon Cowell.