Delco man charged with reporting fake hostage situation

Posted: November 16, 2013

It was the kind of call that would stop the heart of even a seasoned police officer. The man informed 911 dispatchers that he was being held hostage by a gunman with an AR-15 rifle and explosives strapped to his body, who was threatening to shoot any responding authorities.

While the tale was a fake, the call was not.

On Wednesday, a 22-year-old Delaware County man, a volunteer firefighter, was arrested in what law enforcement officials call a "swatting" incident, in which a false 911 call is made to generate a SWAT-team response.

Charges against Michael Adams, of the 200 block of Carlton Drive, Marple Township, included making false reports of an explosive device and recklessly endangering another person. He was released on $50,000 bail.

Calls to Adams Thursday afternoon were not returned.

According to court documents, on Sept. 16 police received the call about a hostage incident on Carlton Drive. After talking with some evacuated neighbors, however, police determined that the owners of the home in question were on vacation.

Adams denied making the calls.

Hoax callers use technology to make it appear that the calls are coming from the victims' phones, according to the FBI. When police conducted a forensic examination of Adams' computers, they determined he was involved in the incident.

Adams told police he used the name "TSGHMIKE" on the website hackerforums.com. Police linked the user name to six other swatting incidents. Police said Adams was in contact with hackers in Florida, California, and Wisconsin, according to the documents.

In June 2010, a family in nearby Springfield Township was the victim of a swatting episode when 60 emergency responders surrounded the home. A Utah caller told police the father had just shot his children and was threatening to kill his wife.

Last year, the Coast Guard received a distress call for an explosion aboard a yacht about 17 miles off Sandy Hook, N.J. After a massive emergency response costing $335,000, the call was determined to be a hoax.


mschaefer@phillynews.com

610-313-8111

@MariSchaefer

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