Russell Brand Targeted in ‘Swatting’ Prank

Los Angeles police responded to the home of comedian Russell Brand on Monday afternoon, the latest celebrity targeted in a wave of “swatting” calls.

russell-brandThe call, which was reported shortly before 4 p.m., allegedly involved an armed suspect at Brand’s residence in the 1800 block of Doheny Drive.

That brings the number of such ‘swatting’ incidents to nearly a dozen in recent months.

The LAPD, which is investigating the source of the reports, has expressed concern and anger in the wake of the onslaught, which includes texts, calls or computer-generated reports.

Such investigations can be difficult because those who are involved can disguise their contacts through multiple computer servers  and other technological means.

In an effort to calibrate their response, one LAPD car was sent to check the report, which proved to be bogus, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

The LAPD is trying to crack down on the practice by training dispatchers, police supervisors and officers to identify possible crank callers.

The LAPD is already investigating phony 911 calls  involving the homes of Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Sean Combs.

At 3:15 p.m. Friday, officers responded to a call of shots fired at Timberlake’s Hollywood Hills home but found nothing unusual, said LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman.

Less than two hours later, police were sent to Gomez’s home in Sherman Oaks after a caller reported “someone had been killed inside the residence and there was a threat to burn the home down.”

The report was false, police said.

On Thursday, a caller falsely claimed someone had been shot at Rihanna’s Pacific Palisades home.

The day before, someone falsely reported an assault at Combs’ Toluca Lake home.

Smith said investigators are trying to figure out how many, if any, of the calls are connected.

A 12-year-old boy was recently charged with making false threats about supposed incidents at the homes of singer Justin Bieber and actor Ashton Kutcher.

Other swatting targets have included Rihanna’s singer boyfriend Chris Brown, actor Tom Cruise, “The X Factor” judge Simon Cowell, singer Miley Cyrus and the Kardashian-Jenner family.

-Los Angeles Times

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