Justin Bieber became the newest victim of a "swatting" prank, after a false report was made on Tuesday night suggesting that the celebrity was in danger.
An ambush of police forces, helicopters included, arrived on Bieber's property on Tuesday night after an anonymous caller reported that a man was waving a gun outside of the pop singers home. Bieber's security complied with police, allowing them to search the house and its premises. However, no man was found.
The incident, which was reported by TMZ, is one of many that have occurred within that past couple of weeks. According to the police, a prankster utilized an app in order to make the call to 911. A number of other high-profile celebrities also live on the same block, including Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, amongst others.
Now referred to as the "swatting prank," the new practical joke is not funny where money is involved. A similar prank brought mass amounts of police forces to Ashton Kutcher's last week, which cost the taxpayers of Los Angeles an estimated $10,000. This, according to TMZ, which reported "heavily armed officers" were required to report to the scene.
The story revolving Kutcher's home was more elaborate, detailing that the Russian mafia was robbing the house. The caller added that he or she had been locked inside and had heard gunshots fired. An almost identical incident occurred in August when police responded to a call from Miley Cyrus' home. Again, the caller stated that the house was under a home invasion with possible shots fired.
The incident has also occurred a number of times in non-celebrity homes. In each case the caller reports a false crime, like robbery or murder.
"It's a very dangerous situation, and I think it's a miracle that nobody's been killed yet," Deputy District Attorney Patrick Frey, who believes he was targeted by the prank, said in an interview with The Daily Beast last week.
"I had police officers pointing guns at me; my cellphone was in my hand. If they had thought I was armed and dangerous, I was one finger-pull of the trigger of losing my life that night. It was very scary. It seemed like it was designed to cause us the potential for being shot and killed," he explained.