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As Hollywood ‘Swatting’ Trend Continues, Police Claim Copycatting

Yahoo Celebrity

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Chris Brown, October 2012 (Maury Phillips/WireImage)

Chris Brown, Tom Cruise, the Kardashian compound – all of them have been hit in the last week alone. How much further is the celebrity swatting trend going to go?

Every day lately in greater Los Angeles, there seems to be a new case of “swatting,” which is the unfortunate trend of a prankster reporting a crime from inside the home of a celebrity, causing a SWAT team police response and using up valuable taxpayer dollars.

Back in December, a 12-year-old boy was arrested in conjunction with making bogus reports about the homes of Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher (for incidents that took place in October). But when the trend started up again in recent weeks, it was clear that this wasn’t an isolated job.

So, the question arose: Is this celeb swatting trend a case of copycatting, or something akin to “The Bling Ring” targeting of celebrity homes for burglary in 2010? And in an age where everyone continues to clamor for his or her 15 minutes of fame, what does this trend say about our celeb-obsessed society? After all, “The Bling Ring” is being turned into a Sofia Coppola-directed movie out this summer. (The criminals were already immortalized in a 2011 Lifetime movie.)

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Tom Cruise in Seoul, South Korea, December 2012 (Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

According to a spokesperson for the Beverly Hills Police Department, under whose jurisdiction the Tom Cruise swatting case fell last Thursday, this is most definitely a case of copycat crime. “Absolutely, I think these are copycat incidents,” Beverly Hills Police Lt. Lincoln Hoshino tells omg!. “I don’t think that (the perpetrators) are working together. I suspect that it’s a copycat situation and it’s being fueled by the media.”

Which, of course, means the sheer act of reporting this story could be encouraging copycat behavior when it comes to celeb swatting.

Lt. Hoshino could not comment on what specific actions were being taken in this ongoing investigation, nor could he report any numbers on how many resources (in terms of personnel or dollars) were being usurped to respond to swatting calls.

He could confirm that the Beverly Hills Police Department was now working in conjunction with the LAPD on their investigation, due to proximity of their jurisdictions and similarity in the criminal activities. Neither the L.A. Sheriff’s Department (under whose jurisdiction the Kardashian case fell) nor the LAPD has responded to omg!’s request for an interview.

The LAPD’s Hollywood division did, however, confirm the details surrounding the Chris Brown case, which fell under their jurisdiction. According to the LAPD Watch Commander’s description of the Monday crime, “The report was just filed today. There was a call for an emergency that came out from an address, which we later found out was Chris Brown’s home. A male was reporting that his mom and dad were in an argument and at some point the father went into another room; it was mentioned to the communications officer that he was known to have guns. There was then mention that bottles were possibly being thrown. Because we’ve had prior incidents regarding these prank calls before, we sent an officer to investigate, but we determined that there was no incident occurring. Chris Brown was not home at the time.”

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Bruce and Kris Jenner, May 2012 (Getty Images)

So, who will the next target be? And why are certain targets being chosen over others? Cruise, the Kardashians, and Brown have all been in the celebrity news headlines for other stories in recent weeks. Are other celebrities in the headlines currently likely to be future targets?

In terms of how the celebs have responded to swatting, at least one target didn't let the incident phase them too much. In the case of the Kardashians, family patriarch Bruce Jenner found the humor in the situation and posed for smiling photos with the officers who responded to the hoax.

But let’s cut to what everyone really wants to know: When all is said and done and this trend is behind us, who will direct and star in the movie version of “Celebrity Swatting”?

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