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Justin Bieber latest target of 'swatting' celebrity 911 prank

October 10, 2012 | 11:58 am

Justin Bieber performing
Justin Bieber is the latest victim of a prank trend targeting celebrities in the L.A. area: Swatting.

An emergency message came to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Malibu-Lost Hills station about 1:40 a.m. Wednesday, supposedly from the pop star's Calabasas home, of a person with a weapon, officials said.

The message was delivered via a TTY device typically used by the deaf to type text over the telephone, officials said. In the case of celebrities, such calls often result in a tactical response, including heavily armed officers.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said deputies responded to Bieber's home and contacted people on the premises who said they never called authorities. She said deputies quickly determined it was a false call-out. Nishida said the message was made through a TTY device.

Los Angeles police last week dispatched several units and tactical officers to Ashton Kutcher's home on Arrowhead Drive after a woman used the same system to report she was hiding in a closet because there was a man with a gun inside, sources said.

But after interviewing workers at the actor's home, as well as contacting Kutcher himself, LAPD investigators determined the incident was a hoax, the sources said.

LAPD Officer Tenesha Dobine said three people who turned out to be workers were briefly detained at the property.

In August, police were called to actress Miley Cyrus' Studio City home after a caller reported several people were being held hostage after a shooting. The call was quickly deemed a hoax but drew a significant police reponse.


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-- Richard Winton

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Photo: Justin Bieber performing this month. Credit: Thomas Boyd / The Oregonian.