Sixty police officers and members of a SWAT team scrambled Wednesday night to a normally quiet neighborhood in Springfield, Delaware County, for what turned out to be a hoax.
Someone was able to scam the 911 system with a report that three people had been killed and others were being held hostage in a house in the 100 block of Cascade Road, Springfield Police Chief Joe Daly said.
The 911 system seemed to indicate the call was coming from inside the house.
Two houses on either side of the house and two others across the street were evacuated as police surrounded the dwelling. Hostage negotiators were on hand. A neighbor reported seeing a helicopter.
A young boy looked through a window from inside the house and saw police in the backyard, Daly said. A man then came out to see what was going on and was tackled and handcuffed.
A woman then emerged with a child in her arms, Daly said.
Police entered the house, he said, and determined nothing was wrong.
Officers then knew it was a scam because the 911 system was still getting descriptions of violence in the house while they were in it, Daly said.
"It was an elaborate hoax," he said. "We responded as if it was the real deal."
The man was released and allowed to return to his home. He declined to comment when a reporter knocked on the door to ask about the incident.
The residents, a family with three children, are relatively new to the neighborhood, Daly said, adding that he had no indication they were connected to the hoax, other than as victims.
"A lot of resources were brought to bear," Daly said. Authorities will investigate the hoax. "It will take a day or two to track it down," he said.
"They'll get the bill for this," he added.