Scarborough police have suspect in 2 'swatting' calls

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SCARBOROUGH — Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have identified a suspect in two false emergency calls made last week that claimed a sexual assault and shooting had taken place.

The practice, known as “swatting,” is a harassment tactic intended to produce an emergency response to another person’s address, according to a Police Department press release Monday.

Scarborough police received the calls Jan. 16. 

Crime analyst Jaime Higgins said Tuesday the department cannot provide additional comment because the case is an active investigation and the suspect had not been charged. She said charges are expected this week, and the public will be updated. 

Scarborough is a consolidated dispatch center that also provides service to Old Orchard Beach. At approximately 1:40 a.m. Jan. 16 the center received a phone call on the OOB non-emergency line reporting a hostage situation involving a handgun at a motel. The male caller reported being shot in the stomach, and provided a description of a male suspect who was reportedly armed.

At 2 a.m, a second call on the Scarborough non-emergency line reported a sexual assault in the parking lot at the Scarborough Wal-Mart. The male caller said the male suspect came back to the area and was after him. The line then disconnected, police said. 

Both reported emergencies were found to be fabricated by responding officers. Once the recordings were reviewed it was clear the callers were likely the same individual, police said.

Scarborough’s Special Enforcement Team and Detective Bureau, with assistance from the FBI, are investigating.

Juliette Laaka can be reached at 781-3661 ext., 106 or at jlaaka@theforecaster.net

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