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Reported Harveys Lake Hostage Situation a Case of "Swatting"

State and local police are trying to determine who is behind a hoax that had police responding with assault weapons.

Harveys Lake, Luzerne County -- State and local police responded to a staging area Thursday afternoon outside Alderson United Methodist Church. They were called after a report that a Harveys Lake man was taken hostage in his Cedar Street home. The response came after a family member who lives in New Jersey received a frightening call. "The sister is the one that received the telephone call from this supposed hostage taker stating that he had her brother at gunpoint," said Harveys Lake Police Chief Charles Musial.

Authorities armed with handguns and assault rifles were poised to converge on the home waiting for the go-ahead. "We had to definitely treat this as something that could have possibly been happening," said Chief Musial. But within an hour or so of the incident beginning, authorities were able to determine that the alleged hostage victim, a trucker from Harveys Lake, was safe in Ohio. This situation turned out to be a case of "swatting" -- a term referring to a swat team or similar authorities responding to a reported dangerous situation that's actually a hoax. In this "swatting" case, it tied up valuable manpower for nearly two hours. "It takes a lot of time and manpower and resources and fortunately enough we have that all available."

The question investigators now want answered is who is behind this swatting incident and why was a Harveys Lake man targeted. "Hopefully, we can come to some conclusion as to why it's being taken place," said Chief Musial.

Pennsylvania State Police as well as local and New Jersey police are trying to solve the swatting case. Investigators were able to determine that the"swatting" call was made in Puerto Rico.

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