Grinnell Police investigating ‘swatting’ hoax that caused Thursday night panic

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GRINNELL, IOWA — Grinnell police officers evacuated a home on Thursday evening and called for support from a tactical support team in response to a violent threat that turned out to be a hoax.

According to a news release from the Grinnell Police Department, dispatchers received a call at 5:48 pm from someone claiming to have killed his parents, tied up siblings and doused his home in gasoline. Grinnell Police and Poweshiek County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the caller’s address and evacuated two people and set up a perimeter around the house before determining the call was fake. A short time later the Pella Police Department also reported a similar call that was also found to be false.

Authorities say the caller used the names of people who actually lived in the homes where the hoaxes were based. Grinnell police are working with both state and federal authorities to investigate the calls. The hoaxes are known as “swatting” by law enforcement officials.

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