Georgetown man indicted on “swatting” charges
WILMINGTON, Del. – A federal grand jury has indicted a Georgetown man on telephone harassment charges, the United States Attorney for the District of Delaware Davis C. Weiss announced on Tuesday.
According to allegations in the indictment, beginning around August 2015 and continuing through August 2017, 29-year-old Rodney Phipps placed “swatting” calls from Delaware to police departments and emergency dispatch centers nationwide. These calls included false reports that murder, shooting incidents, arson, and a hostage situation had either taken place or would take place. It is alleged that many of the calls contained explicit threats that the caller would shoot any law enforcement personnel who responded to the call. In several cases, the hoax calls resulted in significant law enforcement responses to the purported victim’s residences.
This indictment charges Phipps with five counts of making interstate threats and one count of making a false threat involving explosives. Officials say the interstate threat charges carry up to five years maximum in prison, while the false threat involving explosives charge carries up to ten years maximum.
The case is currently being investigated by FBI-Baltimore Division’s Wilmington Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jesse S. Wenger.