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Teenage Minecraft player admits to orchestrating three swattings

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

A 13-year-old boy confessed to the police that he initiated three separate instances of swatting across two states, reports Ars Technica.

The teenager, whose name has not been released because of his age, swatted a teacher and a classmate in Ventura County, California, according to the county's sheriff's department. He also swatted a rival Minecraft player located in Ocean City, New Jersey. Police traced the IP address used to place the VOIP calls in that incident to the boy's home in Camarillo, California, where they found phone spoofing software on a computer.

"He felt he was wronged," said Det. Gene Martinez of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department in an interview with Ars Technica.

Martinez also discussed one of the other swattings, which took place in the boy's hometown of Camarillo. The boy had called police saying he was holding 10 hostages in the house, and threatened to blow up the house unless he received $30,000 in cash.

"he felt he was wronged"

"The Camarillo incident there were 20-plus officers there," said Martinez. "I was at that call. We basically surrounded the house."

All three swattings took place in January. Police have released the boy to the custody of his parents. He will have a hearing in juvenile court next month, with an expected punishment of probation.

Another teenage swatter, Brandon Wilson, 19, was arrested in February for an instance of swatting in which he reported a supposed murder in Naperville, Illinois, in July 2014. Wilson, a resident of Las Vegas, faces up to five years in prison if convicted on all charges.

The phenomenon of "swatting" refers to the act reporting fictitious crimes to the police in an effort to produce an armed response — often with a SWAT team, hence the name — to an unsuspecting victim's residence or business. In recent years, swatting incidents have become fairly regular occurrences, especially in the video game community.