Kutcher, Bieber 'swatting' suspect, 12, may not face charges
The 12-year-old suspect arrested in connection to celebrity "swatting" incidents at Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber's homes may not face criminal charges because of his youth and the non-violent nature of the offense, authorities said.
Instead, the case may be handled by the Probation Department, which seeks to divert young offenders into programs that set them on the right path.
The boy has been linked to three swatting incidents -- two involving celebrities and a third involving a bank.The Los Angeles Police Department, which investigated the case with the Long Beach Police Department and FBI, said they have strong evidence linking the boy to several incidents that prompted a SWAT response, hence the term "swatting."
Police Lt. Marc Reina said the boy used a computer program that allowed him to make TTY calls used by people who are hearing impaired. The boy set up a fake account and began making the calls via message to the LAPD, he said.
He has not yet been charged by prosecutors, who are trying to determine how the matter should be handled.
DIstrict Attorney's spokesman Sandi Gibbons said that the case is being reviewed, but may fall under the control of the Los Angeles County Probation Department because of the boy's age and non-violent nature of the alleged crimes.
Bieber's home was targeted Oct. 10, when Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies received a report claiming a gunman had fired shots and was threatening to harm police when they showed up. The message was received through a TTY device typically used by the deaf to type text over the telephone.
Deputies were unaware it was Bieber's residence and arrived in force. They searched the home and interviewed people on the property, who told them that no call had been made to authorities and that the pop star was away on tour. They determined the incident was a hoax.
A week earlier, Los Angeles police dispatched several units and tactical officers to Kutcher's home on Arrowhead Drive after they received a report through a TTY device from a woman who said she was hiding in a closet because there was a man with a gun inside her residence, according to sources familiar with the case.
But after interviewing workers who were briefly held at gunpoint at the actor's home, as well as contacting Kutcher himself, LAPD investigators determined the incident also was contrived.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Ashton Kutcher. Credit: Peter Tym / For The Times