The U.S. Attorney’s Office says a federal grand jury has indicted a Georgetown, Delaware man for the illegal practice of swatting, in which an individual makes hoax emergency calls in order to elicit an armed police response for the purpose of harassing someone believed to be at the location of the fake emergency.
Officials say 29-year-old Rodney Phipps of Georgetown made the hoax calls to harass people from across the country. The indictment alleges from August 2015 through August 2017, Phipps placed calls from Delaware to police department and emergency dispatch centers across the country including Harrison, New Jersey, Opelousas, Louisiana, Russel County, Kentucky, Pasco County, Florida and Forsyth County, Georgia. Included in the calls, were false reports of murders, shooting incidents, arsons and hostage situations. The calls often frequently included explicit threats that the caller would shoot any law enforcement personnel that responded.
The indictment charges Phipps with five counts of making interstate threats and one count of making a false threat involving explosives. On these charges, Phipps may face upwards of 15 years in prison.