Nightly News   |  April 06, 2013

Celeb ‘swatting’ an alarming trend

In Los Angeles, a practice known as swatting has become an alarming trend — a series of hoax 911 calls claiming serious incidents at the homes of celebrities. A string of them happened just this week, prompting police SWAT teams to respond in force. NBC’s Diana Alvear.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it's known as swatting and it's become an alarming trend. a series of 911 calls creating a series of incidents at the homes of celebrities. a string of them this week prompting response teams to respond in force.

>> reporter: friday afternoon, emergency responders rushed to actress' saline a gomez' home after a 911 caller claimed gomez' father shot her mother and is threatening to burn the home down. over two hours earlier, a breakin was reported at the home of justin timberlake . both reports false alarms , as was the call thursday to rihanna's home and wednesday to shawn koems' home.

>> they're becoming increasingly common here in hollywood. law enforcement officials say they're a waste of time. they take away resources for real emergencies.

>> they must be brought to justice and they must go to jail for a significant amount of time, which is why we're working with the legislature to make this a felony.

>> reporter: state senator ted lou wants strict penalty for those convicted of making false reports, liability for all costs associated with the response, possible felony charges if someone is injured and a minimum sentence of 120 days in jail if convicted. just last year, miley cyrus ' home was targeted, along with chris brown .

>> we've been told that each swatting incident costs between several thousand dollars to potentially $10,000 or more.

>> reporter: authorities managed to catch at least one suspect, a 12-year-old boy charged with calling in false threats to the homes of ashton kutcher and justin bieber. now police are taking protective measures, training dispatchers to better des detect hoax calls and not taking police cars to what are not emergencies.