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Police: Prank 9-1-1 Calls Are Dangerous, Costly

Police in Berwick say an incident Thursday morning may be another "swatting" incident
Berwick, Columbia County - Some people in Columbia County got quite a scare Thursday morning.

It looks like someone called in a fake 9-1-1 call to police, but you would not be able to tell it was a hoax based on the police response.

Now police believe it's a case of squatting.

Squatting means to cause an emergency based on a prank call to 9-1-1.

Officers in Berwick got a call about a shooter from someone who identified himself as a potential victim.

Dozens of officers searched Berwick Offray, where the called was placed.

"Many troopers assisted," Berwick Police Chief Ken Strish, said. "(They came) as far away as Catawissa, Bloomsburg, Hemlock Township Police, South Center, and Scott Township Police Department."

Ultimately, after a lengthy investigation police were able to determine the call was an apparent hoax.

Strish said the bill to pay for all the emergency workers from the fake 9-1-1 could cost thousands of dollars. He said they plan to pass the bill on to the prank caller.

"We'd certainly hold them responsible for the various charges," he said. "They would be serious charges. And part of those charges would be to pay restitution for the cost."

In addition to these types of calls being costly Sergeant Michael Moravec, with the Kinjgston Township Police Department, said prank 9-1-1 calls can be dangerous. He said the calls can take officers away from an actual emergency.

"You may be responding to a report of an active shooter," he said. "And they're going to go ahead and rob the pharmacy, rob the bank, or rob some office."

That fact left Nicole Schwartz, a Dallas resident, feeling a little on edge. She said the people making the fake emergency calls need to knock it off.

"That's absolutely ridiculous," she said. "You shouldn't be doing it. You need to spend your time doing something more productive."

It should be noted that the prank 9-1-1 calls are also illegal.
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