Hacker's hoax leads police to swarm Xbox Live employee's home

Hacker's hoax leads police to swarm Xbox Live employee's home
SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- A hacker's hoax sent Sammamish police on a wild goose chase, swarming a home after getting reports of an armed takeover, a shooting and explosives.

Jan Klier was awakened last month at 4 a.m. to a swarm of officers surrounding his neighbor's home, lights flashing and guns drawn.

"There was like four or five cop cars, two officers here behind cars with guns drawn, there was a sheriff deputy with a sub-machine gun or something like that," Klier said.

Police were responding to a string of emergency 911 text messages that appeared to be coming from a Sammamish home. The first text read "2 armed Russian males broke in..shot my son...and they have Claymore mines."

The text also warned of a red flashing device planted in the home.

"The text message was coming in saying 'they're trying to break in my room,' " said Chief Nathan Elledge with Sammamish Police. "We believed we had armed suspects, potential explosives, and a potential hostage situation."

But it turned out it was a hoax - something that left the police chief none too happy.

"We have officers responding lights and sirens to a call they think is an emergency in progress and they get their only to find out it's a hoax," Elledge said. "So, ya there is some frustration involved but I'm also very concerned about the dangers involved."

Elledge is convinced the hoax is the work of an angry computer hacker. He thinks somebody hacked into a 911 text messaging service to retaliate against the homeowner who works for Microsoft's XBOX Live.

The Microsoft employee told police his main job is to catch and shutdown hackers.

Neighbors learned the prank is called "Swatting" and the FBI has tracked 100 Swatting calls nationwide.

"I certainly wish people had better things to do than playing these games," Klier said.

Elledge was worried about the safety of his officers and the residents.

"We have to do something to put a stop to this type of activity," Elledge said.

A state legislative committee is working on proposed legislation to make harassing a 911 operator -- including swatting -- a crime in Washington.