Georgetown man sentenced in string of swatting phone calls
WILMINGTON, Del. – A Georgetown man was sentenced on Wednesday for several nationwide swatting incidents.
A U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware announced that 30-year-old Rodney Phipps was sentenced to 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of making interstate threats and one count of making a false threat involving explosives in relation to a string of swatting phone calls he made to police departments and emergency dispatch centers across the country.
“Swatting” involves making hoax emergency calls in order to elicit an armed police response for the purpose of harassing someone believed to be at the location of the purported emergency.
According to court documents, from August 2015 through August 2017, Phipps places swatting calls from Delaware to police departments and emergency dispatch centers nationwide, including to Harrison, New Jersey, Opelousas, Louisiana, Russel County, Kentucky, Pasco County, Florida, and Forsyth County, Georgia. Those calls reportedly included false reports that murder, shooting incidents, arson, and a hostage situation had taken place or would take place.
We’re told many of the calls also contained explicit threats that the caller would shoot with a firearm any law enforcement personnel who responded to the emergency call. In several cases, those fake calls provoked significant law enforcement responses to the purported victim’s residences.