OVIEDO, Fla. - Oviedo police said they were the victims of a dangerous prank. Officers said someone used an app on their smartphone to send a crew racing to a home at the Landings at Little Creek Friday morning.
Several agencies responded to the home on Lockwood Boulevard and River Birch Avenue after Oviedo police said they received a call from someone who said they shot a person inside with a high-powered rifle.
Units from several different agencies arrived to the home just after 4 a.m. Friday. After close to three hours of trying to get someone to come out, they were successful. The problem was the family inside was sleeping, and police said it was a hoax.
Police said the prank is called "swatting," which is when a person calls 911 and masks it with another number and location. Police said they have seen the calls happen on the west coast, but are starting to see it in central Florida.
"An individual can use a smartphone app to place a 911 call, and the location of that call you can program to be from any place. It happened to be that they programmed it from inside this house," said Lt. Mike Beavers of the Oviedo Police Department.
Police said their investigators are trying to track down the person that made the call, but they said it will be difficult.
"They do it as a joke, and unfortunately, it's a bad joke, and we're fortunate nobody got hurt," said Beavers.
If the prankster(s) are caught they could face a number of charges and more severe charges if a law enforcement official was injured during the call.