3 swatting calls to SWFL restaurants in January - 96.9 WINK FM

3 swatting calls to SWFL restaurants in January


Swatting calls to two restaurants in Southwest Florida on the same day, and then another happened less than two weeks later.

When you sit down for a meal at a restaurant, you usually don’t imagine the police showing up in the middle of it. But that’s what happened to customers at Ford’s Garage in downtown Fort Myers, Point 57, and Lobster Lady in Cape Coral.

Police were called about each of the restaurants saying multiple people were shot inside. The calls about Ford’s Garage and Lobster Lady happened on New Year’s Day, while the Point 57 incident happened on Friday, Jan. 13.

Safety and security expert Rich Kolko said the fake calls, called “swatting calls,” are not a joke.

“It is very dangerous. There are issues where people have been killed or hurt. Following this police response, when there was no reason to be called in,” Kolko said.

“There’s various groups that are doing this actually. It’s whether it’s people working in the basement of their home, anywhere on the planet, just to observe the response,” Kolko said.

Customers like Toney Freeman, who WINK News found at Lobster Lady, said they don’t understand the point of causing such chaos.

“People got too much time on their hands, people looking for attention, clicks, views…people just wasting time, wasting resources,” Freeman said.

Lobster Lady, another restaurant that was victim to a swatting call. CREDIT: WINK News

Kolko explained that it’s a big waste of resources.

“It takes well-needed law enforcement and often fire and ambulance assets off the street to respond to these fake calls,” Kolko said.

And it puts customers and innocent bystanders in danger.

“When these calls come in, it’s typical to see law enforcement rolling with armored vehicles, long guns, tactically dressed out, ready for any possible threat. It is dangerous for law enforcement. It is dangerous for the innocent victims in these schools or any other facility,” Kolko said.

Kolko told WINK News it’s increasingly difficult to catch people making these calls because of the various ways locations can be disguised.


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