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Pranksters calling SWAT team could get 20 yrs

Posted at 11:34 PM, Apr 28, 2016

Will the threat of 20-years in prison stop people from calling in hoax emergencies to law enforcement?  The victim of a terrifying SWAT prank two years ago thinks not.

Mike Dolen was playing Minecraft inside his Bradenton home on an early Sunday morning when out of no where, BOOM, his door was kicked in by members of the Bradenton Police Department’s SWAT team.

“I'm scared to death,” Dolen said. “The year after was the worst year of my life. I had nightmare after nightmare where I couldn't sleep. I was very restless. I had to sleep in the living room on the couch watching the door.”

Police told Dolen if he had made any sudden movements or if they saw any weapons in the home, he might have been killed.

“There was a hand motion I did when I took my headphones off there was one lady (officer) that said she was very close to shooting me because of the motion to take my head phones off and they were already on edge,” Dolen said.

Dolen’s prank was the result of a heated exchange during a game of Minecraft. The pranksters cloned his cell phone, and placed the fake call to 911.

“The person used a voice changer to make her sound like a little girl and said that ‘my daddy killed my mommy in the kitchen.’”

The bill that just passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee would impose up to a 20-year prison sentence and heavy fines for pulling the stunt, defined in the text as “the transmission of misleading or inaccurate caller identification information with the intent to trigger a response by a law enforcement agency.”

Dolen said he would prefer a heavy fine over time in prison, unless the intent is to harm the person getting swatted.  Either way Dolen doesn’t think anyone will get caught.  In his case, the pranksters have never been found.

“It's a mess man there is no way they are going to catch these guys,” Dolen said. “You could say you are going to give them a 100 years, the death penalty, it's not going to matter.”

If caught the charge would be for misuse of 911. That is currently only a misdemeanor.