Bloomington Police had to pay SWAT team officers overtime to respond to what turned out to be a bogus report of an hostage crisis last month. (WJBC file photo)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - Police say crime doesn't pay and whoever was behind a bogus hostage claim will likely have to pay.
Bloomington Police spokesman Dave White says it doesn't appear the man who lived in the home at Hilltop Mobile Home Park is responsible for the hoax that police were called to on Feb. 2, but someone will have to pick up the tab.
"You can't put the blame on them and say, okay, we're going to come after you for restitution," White said. "If this case ever develops to where we find out who did this and somebody's charged and convicted, then that would be the opportunity for the city to go after restitution," White said.
White said those costs can escalate if perpetrators continually get away with it, which is why the city will likely seek restitution if an arrest is made.
White referenced a case in which someone falsely reported a pipe bomb incident to conceal the reason they were hurt, which was trying to blow up some PVC pipe up a snow drift.
The FBI tells WJBC the hoax case is an open investigation and haven't offered further comment. White said it cost the city to call in a SWAT team and pay them overtime. The department estimated the cost of the hoax at $2,000, not including the time on-duty officers were taken from other police work.
Several trailers at Hilltop were evacuated that day as a safety precaution and a man was taken in for questioning before being released.
The man told police he was being harassed by a disgruntled chat room user who had been making bonus calls in his name.
Police in Bloomington, Ind. also received that emergency call in what was an apparent mix up. RTV6 in Indianapolis reports that police found a surprised resident who had been watching a movie while his 2-year-old daughter slept.
Calling in a false report to police is a Class 4 felony in Illinois, punishable by 1-3 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.