PENNSYLVANIA MAN ARRESTED FOR SWATTING INCIDENT

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Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III, Chief of Detectives John J. Kuczynski and New Jersey State Police Lt. Colin Frinzi announced that a joint investigation by members of the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Fugitive Unit, the New Jersey State Police Perryville Station, and the New York Police Department’s 40th Precinct has led to the arrest of one individual for swatting. Swatting is a practice in which anonymous callers will phone-in false emergency reports to provoke a large police response. Michael Pellot, age 35, of Bethlehem, PA, was arrested and charged with False Public Alarm, a 2nd degree crime, False Public Alarm, a 3rd degree crime, and False Report to Law Enforcement, a 4th degree crime. Bail for Mr. Pellot was set at $100,000 by the Honorable Robert Reed J.S.C. Mr. Pellot was released on bail pending his first court appearance. On February 29, 2016, 911 operators received a call indicating a NYPD officer was shot and bleeding on the side of the road on Interstate 78. The High Bridge Township Police Department, Clinton Township Police Department, Franklin Township Police Department, Clinton Borough Police Department and the New Jersey State Police responded to the call which was later deemed a hoax. According to Prosecutor Kearns, “Swatting is not a harmless prank; it is very hazardous and places citizens and law enforcement officers in danger. Creating a false public alarm is a crime and those responsible will be prosecuted. The high level of cooperation between the agencies was instrumental in tracking down and arresting the accused.” The filing of a criminal complaint is merely a step in the criminal justice process. The defendant is presumed innocent until the matter is resolved in a court of law. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-321-0010 or by going to www.crimestoppershunterdon.com, or text messaging “HCTIPS” plus your tip message to 274637 (CRIMES). Tipsters can also download the free mobile app “Tipsubmit” and select Hunterdon County to submit anonymous tips via text messaging. All tips are anonymous and kept confidential. For current events on the go, follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/HunterdonCoPros For press releases visit our website at http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/prosecutor/press.htm

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