Comedian Russell Brand says he wasn’t home when L.A. police responded to recent a “swatting” call there.
The police call was reported shortly before 4 p.m. Monday and involved a supposedly armed suspect at Brand’s residence in the 1800 block of Doheny Drive.
It was designed to draw a significant number of heavily armored LAPD officers. Such fake incidents are called “swatting” because the prankster aims to get a Special Weapons and Tactics team sent to the home.
“‘Swatting,’ I don’t like the word very much. Swatting, obviously what you do to insects or a passing bottom,” Brand joked to Ryan Seacrest on his morning radio show on 102.7 KISS-FM. “If all swatting attacks are this unnoticeable, I’m ready for war because I didn’t even know it had happened. I still don’t know what a swatting attack is.”
Brand told Seacrest: “There’s always some helicopters and police at my house anyway because of my involvement in other activities, so I didn’t notice any additional ones.”
Unlike most of the celebrities targeted, Brand seemed to see humor in the idea but acknowledged it could affect real crime.
Brand said he understood why a teenager might find it funny but quickly added why it would be bad idea.
“What would be bad would be if the police were attending a swatting and then an actual crime happened and it took the police too long to get there because they were doing a swatting, but other than that, it sounds like a laugh.”
The LAPD is taking swatting calls very seriously. Officials have expressed concern and anger in the wake of a spate of such incidents, which can include texts and computer-generated reports.
The investigations can be difficult because the callers may disguise their contacts through multiple computer servers and other technological means.
In an effort to calibrate their response, one LAPD car was sent to check the Brand report, which proved to be bogus, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.
The LAPD is trying to crack down on the practice by training dispatchers, police supervisors and officers to identify possible crank callers.
The LAPD is already investigating phony 911 calls involving the homes of Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Sean Combs.
On April 5, officers responded to a call of shots fired at Timberlake’s Hollywood Hills home. They found nothing unusual.
Less than two hours later, police were sent to Gomez’s home in Sherman Oaks after a caller reported “someone had been killed inside the residence and there was a threat to burn the home down.” The report was false, police said.
On April 4, a caller falsely claimed someone had been shot at Rihanna’s Pacific Palisades home. The day before, someone falsely reported an assault at a Toluca Lake house owned by Sean Combs.
Smith said investigators are trying to figure out how many, if any, of the calls are connected.
A 12-year-old boy was recently charged with making false threats about supposed incidents at the homes of singer Justin Bieber and actor Ashton Kutcher.
Other swatting targets have included Rihanna’s boyfriend, singer Chris Brown; actor Tom Cruise; “The X Factor” judge Simon Cowell; singer Miley Cyrus; and the Kardashian-Jenner family.