UPDATE: Detectives from the Computer Crimes Unit of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office were trying to determine who was responsible for calling in a “swatting” hoax that brought a SWAT team, a hostage negotiator and other law enforcement personnel to a quiet Cliffside Park neighborhood tonight.
The caller told police that he’d stabbed his girlfriend, barricaded himself in a home on a Jefferson Avenue and would kill her and other family members if anyone tried to take him into custody, Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino said.
“He said he stabbed his girlfriend and was holding her and other family members hostage,” Saudino told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “He said he’d kill them all if he sees a police car.”
Police cut their lights as they evacuated homes and surrounded the two-family house after someone dialed 911 just before 8 p.m. claiming to be the brother of the man who lives there.
A Bergen County Regional SWAT team and hostage negotiators were being brought in when family members emerged.
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WHAT WE THINK: Prank calls are as old as telephones. But as unchecked tech runs wild, and the tense, dramatic nature of rescues gets replayed over and again on screens everywhere, we’re seeing more remote calls triggering needless — and potentially dangerous — responses. READ MORE….
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Police at first believed an emotionally disturbed man may have made the call but quickly cleared him of responsibility.
In “swatting,” hackers fool emergency responders into deploying SWAT teams to unsuspecting victims’ homes and businesses.
Authorities say this can often put people in danger.
“It was a pure hoax,” Saudino said, adding that investigators would hunt down the source. “We’re not happy about having to mobilize like that.”
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