Greenwich police investigate after hoax call about hostage situation

Greenwich police are investigating what they say was a hoax call about a backcountry hostage situation on April 17.

After receiving a call that night from someone claiming to have taken hostages, police closed off a block in the 600 section of Round Hill Road, a wealthy backcountry neighborhood. Greenwith police Capt. Robert Berry said the next morning that the call came in to police dispatch at approximately 7:59 p.m. on Thursday and the caller claimed to have a weapon and to have taken “several” hostages.

Capt. Berry said police responded to the area and set up a perimeter, closing the portion of the street to through traffic, as attempts were made to contact the residents. But when this happened, Capt. Berry said, no one responded at the house or at the phone number from which the original call was made. Contact was eventually made with some of the people living in the house, who were not there, but not all could be located.

Police then made the decision to enter the house, and when they did, Capt. Berry said, no one was found inside.

“At this time we do not believe there was any actual hostage situation,” Capt. Berry said, adding that the investigation was ongoing. He said no injuries were reported and there is no reason to believe there is any threat to the community.

Police cleared the area after 11 p.m.

No details were released about the caller, and late last week, GPD Public Information Officer Lt. Kraig Gray said that based on “all the available facts,” police were treating this as a hoax with the perpetrator unknown. He noted that there has been a national trend recently of people misusing police resources by calling in hoax emergency calls, something that is known as “swatting” since it typically calls for SWAT resources or tactical teams to be used.

“The individuals who engage in this activity use technology to make it appear that the emergency call is coming from the victim’s phone,” Lt. Gray said. “Sometimes swatting is done for revenge, other times as a prank. The FBI believes that most who engage in swatting are serial offenders who are also involved in other cyber-crimes such as identity theft and credit card fraud, exploiting the inherent anonymity of the Internet plus the ready availability of technology to mask their identity. Hoax calls or making false reports to law enforcement are serious crimes which are frightening to the target and surrounding community, cause an unnecessary drain on resources and potentially put lives in danger.”

Lt. Gray called this a “very serious incident” and said the investigation was continuing to attempt to identify its perpetrators. As of deadline for this week’s edition of the Post no arrests had been made, but check back to and for the latest updates.


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