Platte County authorities accuse a 20-year-old Indiana man of making a false bomb report that caused the county’s tactical response team to mistakenly surround a residence.
Richard S. Zimmer of Kokomo was charged Jan. 24 with what Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd described as “swatting.” Zahnd said swatting is a dangerous prank because it causes law enforcement to respond to false emergencies.
Court records allege that Zimmer targeted the home of a 15-year-old girl who had been mean to his girlfriend.
Zimmer was being held Friday on $50,000 bond.
According to court records, Zimmer called a restricted number on a non-emergency line of the Platte County sheriff’s office Jan. 11 and told a dispatcher he had taken a hostage at the house in the 15000 block of Northwest 125th Street. He allegedly demanded $300,000 or he would kill the hostage.
Zimmer also said he had rigged the house and would blow it up if anyone came close, court documents said.
He also allegedly threatened the dispatcher if authorities tried “anything funny.” Zimmer said he had duct-taped the hostage’s mouth shut, court records said, and then he hung up.
Sheriff’s deputies surrounded the residence and set up a perimeter on the roadways. They also called phone numbers connected to the house, but they could not reach anyone.
Deputies eventually contacted the homeowner and confirmed there was no emergency at the residence.
About 30 minutes later, a friend of Zimmer called the dispatchers and said the call was a hoax.
The friend told authorities that Zimmer, also known by the name Scott Cofield, lived in Indiana and had told the friend that he had “swatted” the house to teach a lesson to the girl who supposedly had mistreated his girlfriend, according to court records. The records indicated Zimmer met the girlfriend online.
Authorities later had the friend contact Zimmer through Skype. The friend asked Zimmer if he thought he would get in trouble for what he did. Zimmer speculated that he might get six months if caught, court records said, and said he had encrypted his computer.
Kokomo police later arrived at Zimmer’s residence and arrested him.