A Washington state teenager has been sentenced to three years in a California prison for tricking 911 dispatchers into sending a SWAT team to the Orange County home of a randomly selected family.
Randal T. Ellis, 19, of Mukilteo was sentenced Wednesday in Orange County Superior Court after pleading guilty to felonies including false imprisonment by violence and falsely reporting a crime. He was ordered to pay $14,765 in restitution, nearly all of it to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Ellis was arrested last year after hacking into a telephone network and impersonating a caller from a Lake Forest home, saying that he had killed someone in the house and was threatening to shoot others.
The technique in which a prank call is made to 911 dispatchers is known among hackers as "SWATting."
The Sheriff's Department dispatched a SWAT team and surrounded the home with dozens of officers, dogs and a helicopter. A resident in the house grabbed a kitchen knife when he heard noises in his backyard, and officers handcuffed him and his wife until they determined the report was fake.