Man Charged Over Alleged False Reports To Sheriff’s Office

Man Charged Over Fake Calls To Sheriff's Office

( – A Canadian man is facing multiple charges after he allegedly hit a Florida sheriff’s office with dozens of hoax calls.

Sault Ste. Marie Police in Ontario arrested 20-year-old William Tuckett on charges related to false reports and public mischief after calling in multiple false reports to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Tuckett allegedly called the sheriff’s office on February 16 claiming there was an active shooter at Dunnellon Middle School. Police responded by placing the school on lockdown and searching it thoroughly. They found no evidence of injuries or violence after arriving. Students were released from school shortly after. A Valentine’s Day dance was canceled despite authorities finding no threat.

He called the office again just one day later claiming that he was holding a person hostage in Ocala, FL. He gave authorities a specific address and claimed he was armed. Police determined the residence was safe shortly after arriving.

Authorities said he made dozens of other calls in the following weeks. They also said the calls targeted a local resident who is familiar with Tuckett.

Sault police got involved after receiving a call from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. They were able to determine the geographic source of the calls and worked together to pinpoint Tuckett.

Swatting has become a significant concern among police over the past decade. For instance, conservative blogger and radio talk show host Eric Erickson became a victim in 2012. In 2017, an innocent Wichita man was killed by police after they responded to a fake call warning authorities of hostages in the home. A California man was arrested days later. A number of political figures also became victims of swatting over the 2023 holiday season.

Experts say it can be very difficult to track down swatting suspects and, in many ways, is becoming more difficult. The technologies can use many proxies to conceal the original location. Even worse, swatting calls sometimes originate in other countries, limiting jurisdictional authority. However, perpetrators who make repeated calls are easier to discover over time.

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