A New Jersey video game shop fell victim to a calculated “swatting” attempt on Saturday night—one that, according to reports, nearly saw the victim play an active role in inflaming the police response.
The story began by resembling far too many other recent swatting attempts. As Jersey area news site Cliff View Pilot reported, Passaic County officers received an anonymous, phony tip about a hostage situation with shotguns and wounded victims. The location in question was a video game store in Clifton, New Jersey, called Digital Press. The store was hosting its usual monthly gaming meetup that night—ironically, one devoted to “super cute” video games—and the county sheriff’s department sent a SWAT team to the shopping strip in question to investigate.
What made this swatting different from other recent high-profile cases, according to tips sent to gaming site Kotaku, was that the victims also received an anonymous call that attempted to pour gasoline on the fire. The game shop’s Web administrator, Frankie Viturello, told a story of seeing a police presence begin to descend upon the store’s shopping district, at which point the 40-strong crowd of gamers locked the shop’s doors and relocated away from the windows and toward the building’s basement. Soon afterward, the shop received a call from a supposed fire department representative.
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