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'Swatting' Prank at Kutcher Home Cost L.A. Taxpayers At Least $10K

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We might think those "swatting" pranks at celeb homes are easily dismissed as not our problem, but when it comes to the price tag for the resources they waste, well, it all comes out of our wallets.

As TMZ points out, the recent faux home invasion robbery distress call that sent out a chopper and a pile of Los Angeles Police Department cops to Ashton Kutcher's Hollywood Hills manse is costing taxpayers at least $10,000. The cost could go up as police finish tallying what the gossip site calls "the full extent of squandered resources."

The prank involved an individual using a teletype machine (phone equipment used by the deaf community) to contact the LAPD's Hollywood Station. The call indicated there had been a home invasion, shots fired, and that the caller was hiding in a closet in fear. When police arrived on scene, there were no perpetrators, and no one hiding. The call was a fake.

Such pranks are crimes, and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck had a strong warning to the pranksters at a press conference in the aftermath of the Kutcher incident: “If I find out who did that, I’ll prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “It should anger everybody. This is a city that has scarce police resources and to waste them on prank calls…it affects everybody.”

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The FBI came up with the term "swatting" a few years ago, but hoped it would not become a national hobby. Here in L.A. we've had two celebrity-focused "swatting" episodes within weeks of each other; in August a prankster sent the LAPD out to Miley Cyrus' house in response to a faux kidnapping call.