Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Brand victim of swatting prank

Russell Brand

Russell Brand has fallen victim to “celebrity swatting” as police raided his property in Los Angeles after receiving a call about two armed men approaching his residence.

Police arrived to the British comedian’s property on Monday after receiving an emergency call about two suspicious men approaching the residence, according to TMZ.

The caller reported the men were carrying guns and wearing body armour.

Russell is believed to have left his home 30 minutes prior to the 911 call.

According to the website police determined upon their arrival the entire report was a hoax.

Russell is the latest in a long and growing list of celebrities that fell victim to swatting.

The phenomenon earned the moniker for bogus reports intended to lead SWAT teams or large numbers of law enforcement to the homes of high-profile individuals.

Rihanna’s Los Angeles property was stormed by police last week after authorities received a prank call claiming two armed men were inside, according to TMZ.

P. Diddy’s home in the neighbouring San Fernando Valley was subject to a similar escapade just days prior. Over a dozen police vehicles and two helicopters rushed to the hip-hop mogul’s home before they realised what had happened.

Kim Kardashian, Tom Cruise, Britney Spears and Beyoncé Knowles have also been targeted in similar swatting calls.

Police are taking the incidents seriously and arrested a 12-year-old boy in December for prank calling 911 with similar reports targeting the homes of Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber.

Russell has yet to issue comment on the incident.

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