Tuscaloosa, Alabama (KETK) — A Tuscaloosa, Alabama man has been indicted after allegedly causing an entire Texas police force to respond to a fake emergency.
On Wednesday, Stephen Sherwin Stepho, 19, was charged with making an interstate threat.
Back in January, The Colony police force, including the SWAT team, responded to reports of two intruders at a local residence.
According to the indictment, Stepho, who uses the Xbox Gamertag “NuBlom,” is alleged to have fraudulently dispatched nine officers to a home. This practice, called “swatting,” involves using 911 emergency services to trick law enforcement, and particularly Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) squads, based on a false emergency.
The gamer is accused of threatening a person and his mother at the house in question with “swatting,” unless they paid Stepho $500 for a pair of fake Xbox Gamertags. When the resident refused to pay, Stepho allegedly disguised his Caller ID to make it appear that he was placing a call to 911 from inside the house in The Colony, Texas, and claimed that two people had broken into the home. As a result, The Colony’s entire police force responded to what it believed was an emergency.
If found guilty, Stepho faces up to two years in prison.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shamoil T. Shipchandler.