Local News

Ryan Seacrest is Latest “Swatting” Victim

Entertainer Ryan Seacrest is the latest celebrity victim of a so-called swatting prank, police say.

Details about the Wednesday afternoon incident were not immediately available, but the Beverly Hills Police Department said on Twitter it had responded to a “swatting call” at Seacrest’s home.

seacrestpic“No signs of trouble,” the tweet read. “Everyone OK.”

Seacrest is the sixth celebrity in a week whose Los Angeles-area home was targeted, bringing the number of such swatting incidents to nearly a dozen in recent months.

The prank came hours after the radio host spoke to comedian Russell Brand, whose Hollywood Hills home was hit Monday.

“’Swatting,’ I don’t like the word very much. Swatting, obviously what you do to insects or a passing bottom,” Brand joked to Seacrest on his morning radio show on KISS-FM (102.7).

“If all swatting attacks are this unnoticeable, I’m ready for war because I didn’t even know it had happened. I still don’t know what a swatting attack is.”

LAPD officials have expressed concern and frustration over the calls, which can be made via text, phone or a computer-generated report.

The investigations are complicated because those involved can disguise their contacts through multiple computer servers and other technological means.

The LAPD has taken steps to calibrate their responses. Only one police car was sent to check the Brand report, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told The Times.

Dispatchers, police supervisors and officers are also being trained in an effort to identify possible false reports.

State and local officials have also joined the effort in trying to crack down on the crank calls. The calls are called “swatting” because of the SWAT-style response they trigger.

The swatters have not slowed down.

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

Less than two hours later, police were sent to actress Selena 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 Sean 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 singer Chris Brown, actor Tom Cruise, “The X Factor” judge Simon Cowell, singer Miley Cyrus and the Kardashian-Jenner family.

-Los Angeles Times

Advertisement

Advertisement