A Bethlehem, Pa. man has been arrested for allegedly calling in a swatting incident in Hunterdon County earlier this year. Swatting is a practice in which anonymous callers phone-in false emergency reports to provoke a large police response. Several communities, including Princeton, have had to deal with numerous swatting calls over the last two years.
In February, 911 operators received a call indicating that a New York police officer was shot and bleeding on the side of the road on Interstate 78. The High Bridge Township Police Department, Clinton Township Police Department, Franklin Township Police Department, Clinton Borough Police Department and the New Jersey State Police responded to the call, which was later deemed a hoax.
A a joint investigation by members of the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Fugitive Unit, the New Jersey State Police Perryville Station, and the New York Police Department’s 40th Precinct led to the arrest of Michael Pellot, age 35, of Bethlehem, Pa.
Pellot is charged with creating false public alarm, a 2nd degree crime, and making a false report to law enforcement, a 4th degree crime. Bail was set at $100,000. Pellot was released on bail pending his first court appearance.
“Swatting is not a harmless prank; it is very hazardous and places citizens and law enforcement officers in danger. Creating a false public alarm is a crime and those responsible will be prosecuted,” said Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns. “The high level of cooperation between the agencies was instrumental in tracking down and arresting the accused.”