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The Globe and Mail

Ottawa teen a suspect in ‘swatting’ cases across North America; faces 60 charges

Police tape marks a crime scene in this file photo.


Three teens, two from Ontario and one from Quebec, are facing charges following an investigation into so-called "swatting" incidents across North America.

A 16-year-old Ottawa youth is facing 60 charges for alleged involvement in dozens of incidents across North America designed to get a police SWAT team to respond.

A Milton, Ont., teen was arrested and charged with public mischief two days after an April 30 incident that led to the evacuation of Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School in the community west of Toronto.

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And a 15-year-old boy from Laval, Que., north of Montreal, was arrested Thursday and charged with allegedly using a telephone or a computer to target a shopping centre, two private homes, and the same school twice.

Officers investigating the Milton incident said they learned the accused had planned for the threat — which said explosives placed in the area of the school were going to detonate — to be delivered by an "online" acquaintance.

Investigators said they identified the acquaintance as a 16-year-old from Ottawa believed to be responsible for dozens of incidents across North America.

The Ottawa youth was arrested Thursday and faces charges that include public mischief, mischief to property, uttering death threats, and conveying false information with intent to alarm in relation to swatting incidents across the continent.

Authorities said they were investigating his alleged involvement in incidents targeting Ontario, Alberta, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Texas, and Britain.

"Swatting is a term utilized online to refer to engaging emergency services with false calls to affect revenge on an individual or organization by causing the response of armed SWAT teams to active shooter scenarios or bomb threats," Ottawa police Staff Sergeant Rick Baldwin-Ooms said Friday.

"In this case, the subject is a suspect in at least 30 North American occurrences," Baldwin-Ooms said.

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The teen's home was searched and officers seized data transmission and communication devices, along with firearms and ammunition, Ottawa police said.

In addition to Ottawa police, the multi-jurisdictional investigation included Laval Police, Quebec provincial police, Halton Regional Police, Calgary Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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