A DELAWARE COUNTY man who considered himself a big deal in the online hacking community lied to a 9-1-1 dispatcher in September, claiming he was being held hostage, because he wanted to raise his status among hackers, authorities said yesterday.
Michael Adams Jr., 22, of Marple, was charged with falsely reporting weapons of mass destruction, false alarms to an agency of public safety and related offenses for the Sept. 16 incident, the Delaware County District Attorney's Office announced.
About 2:50 p.m. that day, Marple Township Police, Delaware County investigators, the county's bomb squad and its SWAT team went to Carlton Drive near Central Boulevard in response to a caller who said he was being held hostage by a man with an AR-15 rifle who had a bomb strapped to his chest.
When police learned the 75-year-old resident of the house in question was out of town, they deemed the incident unfounded and began to question Adams, who lived next door, according to court documents.
Adams told police he was a member and moderator of several hacking and programming forums online and that he's had problems with rival hackers who use the same sites he does. He claimed they called his house and the Bon Air Fire Company, where he is a member, authorities said. Adams said he was the victim of constant harassment from the famous hacker group Anonymous, according to police.
Adams allegedly speculated that he was a victim of "swatting" by a rival hacker but that the hacker must have been off by one house number when he told police his address. According to court documents, "swatting" is when hackers obtain the personal information of another hacker and use it to place fake 9-1-1 calls to their residence, eliciting a SWAT response.
After examining Adams' electronic devices, police learned Adams may have been involved in as many as six "swatting" incidents from California to Wisconsin, the last of which was the call in Marple Township, police said.
In Adams' arrest affidavit, one detective theorizes that Adams "felt that in order to be a true moderator, equal to his peers, he must be 'swatted' like some of them had been."