Police respond to 2 “swatting” calls Saturday night

Middleton (WKOW) — Dozens of officers swarmed a Middleton apartment complex Saturday looking to save two kids trapped in a basement.

“Somebody is holding him hostage in the basement,” the dispatcher said, advising officers heading to the scene. “Subject has a pistol, says he does not know the person holding him hostage.”

It’s a call you never want to hear: Children being held hostage.

12 Middleton police officers and Dane County sheriff’s deputies searched all over a Middleton apartment complex Saturday night.

It disturbed Josh Caliendo as he was putting his daughter to sleep.

His wife saw more than a half dozen police officers outside.

“There was a knock on the door, couple of police officers,” Caliendo said. “They were very polite, saying there had been a 911 disconnect and [asked] if we’d seen anything.”

However, it turns out it there was never an emergency. It was all a prank call from two kids living nearby.

Officers on scene recognized the two. One is 12-years-old and the other is 13-years-old. Both admitted to making prank call.

The Dane County District Attorney’s office is now handling charges for one of the two.

Dane County Sherrif David Mahoney called it “swatting.”

“As it turns out it probably was a false call it was a non-traceable phone call,” Sheriff Mahoney said. “You know an emergency response occurred which jeopardizes both the community and the officers that are responding and then causes a significant disturbance.”

Even though nobody was actually being held hostage there, neighbors weren’t exactly put at ease.

“In a way it kind of worries me more, for when we actually need something like that and if there’s going to be the same kind of response,” Caliendo said.

Sheriff Mahoney says a similar swatting incident happened in Monona, also on Saturday night.

While the two incidents didn’t affect other calls across the county, they were still a strain on resources.

“Swattings” have happened across the country, including one in Kansas that resulted in the victim being killed by police.

“We need to teach our kids that this is highly inappropriate and that there are consequences for those actions,” Mahoney said.

Caliendo is just concerned that this is now something, some kids find fun.

“I think there are a lot better ways for kids to entertain themselves,” Caliendo said.

More on this story at WKOW 27 News

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