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Davis County Jail

Utah man charged in swatting incident

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Updated - Dec 14th, 2018 @ 2:34pm | Posted - Dec 14th, 2018 @ 12:15pm


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CLEARFIELD — A Clearfield man faces criminal charges in connection with an alleged swatting incident over the summer.

Austen Robert Humphreys, 31, was charged Friday in 2nd District Court with emergency reporting abuse, a third-degree felony.

On July 23, 911 dispatchers received text messages "reporting an ongoing home invasion at a specific address. Officers responded to the residence and found nothing happening," according to charging documents.

Clearfield Assistant Police Chief Kelly Bennett said dispatchers received the texts just before 3:30 a.m. claiming someone was being held hostage in the house. Officers conducted surveillance when they arrived at the home, but did not notice any abnormal activity, he said. Investigators determined the incident was a swatting prank. Fortunately, the SWAT team was not called out, Bennett said.

"Swatting" is when a person contacts 911 to report a false crime, usually of an extremely violent nature, with the intent of getting a SWAT team to respond. The caller is sometimes able to manipulate computers and other technology to make it appear that the call is coming from a certain address, even though the caller may actually be in another state or even another country.

After reviewing phone records, investigators were able to track the source of the call to Humphreys, court records state.

Friday's charges are the latest in a recent series of crimes Humphreys has been accused of this month.

On Dec. 3, he was charged with robbery, a second-degree felony, and aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, for attacking his ex-girlfriend at her Clearfield home in November, according to charging documents. The house targeted in the allege swatting incident also had ties to the former girlfriend, Bennett said.

After he was arrested on Dec. 4, Humphreys allegedly broke the overhead sprinkler and a light cover in his cell at the Davis County Jail, and was charged Dec. 10 with damaging a jail, a third-degree felony.

Additional charges against Humphreys for damaging jail cells were pending on Friday. According to a Davis County Jail report filed on Wednesday, "Humphreys took a meal tray and broke one of the sprinklers in his housing unit. Humphreys has done this several times over the past few weeks, so Humphreys knew this would create a flood in the unit."

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Pat Reavy

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